How an Infrastructure Bank Can Storm Proof Your City

Coastal communities want to know if the Federal government will ignore coastal infrastructure facing sea level rise.

New York and New Jersey are investing in storm-proofing measures to be better prepared for inclement weather

What Happened?
New York and New Jersey are investing in storm-proofing measures to be better prepared for inclement weather. Many cities impacted by Superstorm Sandy and other similar disasters are proactively safeguarding vital infrastructure to reduce the impact of storms and increase the city’s long-term resilience and sustainability.

New Jersey
New Jersey, following the example of several other states along the East Coast, is establishing an infrastructure bank focused on supporting energy resiliency across the state. The infrastructure bank is designed to take public and private funding and launch energy projects through the state’s authority. These projects must increase the state’s use of renewable energy while providing more reliable sources of electricity when challenged by obstacles such as major storms.

The $200 million New Jersey Energy Resilience Bank aims to minimize the impact of future power outages – most likely resulting from inclement weather – while boosting energy resiliency. The state will use Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery funding to build out distributed energy resources at key locations throughout New Jersey. Distributed energy resources include:

  • Combined heat and power fuel cells
  • Off-grid solar inverters with battery storage

These resources will be able to:

  • Provide energy to vital facilities when outages occur
  • Keep energy costs low and stable
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Increase overall efficiency

The Energy Resilience Bank is the result of a collaboration between the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. Grants and forgivable loans will account for 40 percent of the unmet funding needs, with the rest coming from low-interest, amortizing loans.

New York
New York is taking several steps to curb the impacts of major floods to infrastructure such as transit. In New York City, an additional 3.5 million cubic feet of dunes have been added to create a natural barrier to rising water levels. Ground has been broken on a 1.5-mile park in downtown Manhattan as well to create more protection in the event of another superstorm.

In Long Island, a 2-mile long retaining wall beneath the boardwalk will be constructed, while the state of New York is financing more than 3,000 home elevations. A 3-million-gallon gasoline reserve has also been created to provide fuel sources in the event of an emergency, Claims Journal reported. Furthermore, New York City redrew evacuation zones based on how residents fled the city during Superstorm Sandy.

The city’s Department of City Planning is also creating a new retrofitting guide to show what structures were impacted by flooding from the storm to comply with flood insurance requirements. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will then inspect more than 70,000 properties throughout New York City to see what type of storm-proofing efforts can be made to better protect against harsh weather. FEMA representatives will audit the properties to gauge the city’s compliance with the National Flood Insurance Program and provide assistance for storm-proofing eligible properties, Crain’s reported.

Chance of Disaster
EfficientGov has reported on a variety of funding tools for cities looking to increase their resilience to future storms or are rebuilding from previous disasters.

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EfficientGov Staff

EfficientGov is an independent information service providing innovative solutions to fiscal and operational challenges facing cities and towns around the world.