LSU Electrical Engineering Associate Professor, Amin Kargarian and LSU Professor of Sociology, Frederick Weil are creating a power-grid-resilience equity model in New Orleans through a National Science Foundation Disaster Resilience Research fund worth $363,852.
“New Orleans has the second-highest energy burden among all cities in the nation; low-income households in New Orleans experience an energy burden larger than 9.8%—a quarter of them more than 18.9%—while the national average is 3.5%,” said Amin Kargarian.
The team will consider the hardships or social consequences faced by different communities and include these issues into a protection plan for city power infrastructure, especially from flood-induced hazards, under the project.
The team plans to use resources such as Tiger Dams for protecting power substations prior to a flood event, while it will also take into account equity and social justice relating to resource allocation for grid-resilience enforcement.
The team will work with the City of New Orleans Mayor’s Office to present its findings and hopes that energy systems are examined from equity-aware perspective as compared to the current equity-neutral view.
“We plan to consider various factors, such as level of income, level of education, race, and ethnicity,” added Amin Kargarian. “We will collaborate with the LSU Survey Lab [to design a survey and analyze data to understand the impact of power outages on communities] and the City of New Orleans Mayor’s Office to help us better understand community hardship and the impact of climate change on the [residents of New Orleans].”
The project will enable underserved high school students with public awareness of the project, research internships for under-resourced high school students, an industry-sponsored diverse workforce training program and mentorships and training for college students from underrepresented groups.