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Grid hardening is a combined system of actions that create a strong infrastructure to better protect utility customers from weather-related outages. From physical structures to communications to effective documentation, grid hardening entails an end-to-end approach that better protects infrastructure and improves levels of service in the event of extreme weather.

There is no “one size fits all” solution for grid hardening. It must be customized based on each utility’s specific systems, budgets, and storm risks. Utilities must carefully consider a mix of hardening and resiliency measures that address specific weather events and potential vulnerabilities to successfully create a grid hardening approach.

Typically, there are three major categories towards this approach:

  • Prioritize and target options to reduce the impact
  • Harden the components of the system to withstand impact
  • Implement innovative response measures

Within this effort, utility companies should consider the weather models of the area to understand how and when distinct types of weather might impact their system. By doing so, utility leaders and managers can identify system needs and prioritize the grid hardening to meet those needs.

For example, these efforts may uncover the need for the utility to move overhead lines underground to reduce the impact, while increasing operational readiness through flood management efforts like building barriers or walls. Another example of implementing these measures is the need to focus on pole line location and design. Specifically, the utility may look at optimizing structure poles and line design to improve line access to minimize a storm’s impact.

Finally, partnering with a consultant that has experience in all grid hardening approaches can help utilities focus on the best path forward. Leidos understands that utilities are seeking to become more resilient to help infrastructure and systems continue to operate despite damage. Our experience with new technologies and approaches to grid hardening helps utilities to determine, prioritize, and implement effective grid hardening measures while taking advantage of customized tools and advanced technologies.


For more details on the approaches to grid hardening, download the white paper Grid Hardening and Resiliency: Creating a Weatherproof Utility Infrastructure.



Jeffrey Richard is an electrical engineer with experience working on a variety of distribution projects, including in-depth assessments and engineering reviews. His efforts help to alleviate voltage problems on distribution infrastructure. He also leads a team of engineers in engineering system improvements to maintain and improve infrastructure. He earned his Masters of Engineering in Power Systems Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and his Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering, University of Massachusetts.