Town of Nags Head chosen to participate in federal energy resilience project

Crews working on power lines after Hurricane Matthew in October 2016. [Town of Nags Head photo]

The Town of Nags Head has been selected to participate in a collaborative effort to address its unique energy resilience challenges and goals.

Nags Head is one of just 11 competitively selected communities across the nation to participate in the Energy Transitions Initiative Partnership Project (ETIPP) of the Department of Energy.

Through the ETIPP project, Nags Head aims to advance its disaster resiliency by ensuring renewable and other distributed energy resources are interconnected and available locally during and following emergencies, such as the hurricanes the area experiences. In addition, Nags Head seeks to determine opportunities to incorporate renewable and energy efficient technology into the Town’s critical governmental facilities, with the goal of being able to operate 48 to 72 hours off grid.

“The people of the Outer Banks have a long history of being independent and resilient, a result of living in a remote location exposed to weather extremes,” said Nags Head Mayor Ben Cahoon. “As a result, our town prefers to be at the forefront when it comes to preparing for, and responding to, issues such as our changing climate and the need for energy resiliency. We’re excited to work with our partners so we can assess, and then improve, our ability to provide services and operate during and after storms, as well as be more energy efficient.”

Nags Head’s participation in ETIPP provides an opportunity to leverage local expertise in collaboration with regional partners like The Coastal Studies Institute and national laboratories like Sandia National Laboratories and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Together, they will identify and implement community-driven solutions that address Nags Head’s energy challenges, values, and goals stemming from the town’s unique geographic and climatic conditions, coupled with a 10-fold seasonal population increase due to its popularity as a tourist destination.

Specifically, this project will increase the incorporation of energy efficient, renewable measures into the design of the Town’s facilities and emergency infrastructure, which will allow the community to better withstand, respond to, and recover rapidly from disruptions without long-term damage to our economy or environment.

“Disaster-ready, energy efficient facilities mean the town will ideally require less government and/or private funding to recover, rebuild, and redevelop after a hazard occurs,” said Nags Head Planning and Development Director Michael Zehner. “Our goal is to do all that we can to preserve the core values and quality of life we enjoy here despite our current and future hazards.”

The ETIPP project will last approximately 12 to 18 months.