Resilience in Durham, NC
The city of Durham is one of three major hubs in North Carolina’s growing Triangle Region — an area whose need for infrastructure, natural resources and public services is increasing due to significant past and projected population growth. As such, the city must ensure that its existing and future populations can be resilient to more frequent and intense storms, flooding events and hotter temperatures. The experience of two extended power outages that resulted from tropical storm damage have energized city efforts to increase resilience, beginning with municipally-owned buildings and critical infrastructure. In a time of crisis these facilities can serve as emergency response shelters for residents while also providing power for emergency management efforts.
The city will partner with the SolSmart program to conduct a feasibility study to determine the costs and benefits of deploying solar and storage on city facilities and critical infrastructure. Expanding Durham’s solar capacity generates multiple benefits by providing electrical power in the event of short and long-term outages, minimizing supply chain interruptions, reducing the city’s reliance on fossil fuels, improving air quality and reducing emissions.
By undertaking these efforts, Durham will join other cities and counties in the Triangle Region that are already participating in solar programs. With support from NLC, the city hopes to educate its municipal staff on the co-benefits of solar and storage and critical infrastructure, and engage in a region-wide, peer-to-peer learning workshop where Durham and other solar communities can activate a broader metropolitan movement towards resilience through solar deployment.