Green Power On-Demand Systems

A New Energy Storage Initiative That Helps Rural, Tribal, and Disadvantaged Communities Be More Resilient After Disasters or Crises


August 28, 2023

Biden-Harris Administrations Announces Nearly $3 Billion in Project Selections to Help Communities Build Resilience to Climate Change and Extreme Weather Events

FEMA selects the Virginia Department of Emergency Management - Green Power Mobile Energy Storage System for further review along with 124 other projects in national competition for the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) grant program.

The Green Power On-Demand System (GPODS) will make use of a mobile rechargeable battery system that will support the community’s electric grid during normal conditions. It can also detach and be deployed to predetermined and pre-wired disadvantaged community facilities or critical infrastructure locations to ensure there is power during a natural disaster or a similar event.

For this pilot project, seven sites were chosen. This project will deploy four GPODS units to seven quick-connect-equipped locations, along with ongoing support services. The G-PODS will reduce the threat of power outages at these locations by keeping facilities operating during a disaster. This will affect more than 762,778 residents across disadvantaged communities in Colonial Heights, Petersburg, Prince William County and Richmond City.

April 28, 2023

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) recently announced that it was awarded a federal grant to proceed with a planning and scoping project that will investigate the potential use of mobile energy storage systems to provide backup power to support critical infrastructure in rural, Tribal or disadvantaged communities during natural disasters or other catastrophic events.

This project was awarded under the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Building Resilient Infrastructure & Communities (BRIC) grant program for FY2021. 

The scoping project is a jointly developed infrastructure mitigation effort conducted by VDEM, Dominion Energy Virginia, the All Hazards Consortium (501c3), and multiple partners and national trade associations.

This scoping project will support the proposal to use energy storage technologies to leverage a mobile battery system, referred to as the Green Power On-Demand System (GPODS), to support the community’s electric grid during normal conditions but could also be deployed to predetermined locations to provide backup power during a natural disaster or other catastrophic event. 

This new energy storage capability can help multiple rural, Tribal, or disadvantaged communities to better cope with, and recover faster from, power outages by ensuring that the essential infrastructure services, such as water, communications, transportation, fuel, etc. and community services, such as shelters, feeding/warming/cooling stations, healthcare, transportation, public safety, etc. can continue to operate during a disaster.

This will help reduce or eliminate hardships and suffering during a catastrophic incident for residents while reducing economic losses for businesses that provide jobs and goods/services to the communities.

The GPODS system will be governed by the state/local emergency managers and owned, operated, maintained, and managed by - Dominion Energy Virginia.


Project Overview


  • Natural disasters (hurricanes, wildfires, floods, wind/ice/snowstorms, etc.) cause electric power outages that many times can last several days or more.
  • Power outages many times have cascading impacts on communities that disrupt their infrastructure (e.g., water, transportation, communications, fuel, etc.) and restrict access to essential services (e.g., sheltering/food, warming/cooling stations, public safety/security, health/medical, etc..).
  • This lack of power is particularly acute in under-served or disadvantaged communities, which depend more on state and local government services.
  • The FEMA Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities Grant (BRIC) was created to support states, local communities, tribes, and territories undertaking hazard mitigation projects, reducing the risks they face from disasters and natural hazards.
  • The BRIC program guiding principles are supporting communities through capability- and capacity-building; encouraging and enabling innovation; promoting partnerships; enabling large projects; maintaining flexibility; and providing consistency.


  • Many states do not have the available resources to participate in the FEMA BRIC grant program and meet its quantitative and qualitative requirements particularly for infrastructure projects with industry.
  • Most rural, tribal, and disadvantaged communities don’t have the available resources (people, expertise, partnerships, etc..) to submit BRIC grant project applications which can take 12-18 months to develop.     
  • Large-scale infrastructure-focused mitigation projects require industry participation and investments along with the technical, engineering, operational, legal, and regulatory resources that are very difficult to coordinate.

A New Solution

  • The GPODS (Green Power On-Demand System) system leverages mobile energy storage technologies to power “pre-wired” facilities or infrastructure while the electric grid power is disrupted. 
  • The GPODS system is governed by the state/local government and owned, operated, maintained, and managed by the utility.
  • The GPODS system provides a dual-use capability all year round: it supports the community’s electric grid during normal days and provides backup power during disasters.
  • The GPODS create a network of “pre-wired” locations that can accept a GPODS unit.

Benefits of GPODS

  • Reduces the impacts of electric power outages and cascading impacts caused by storms, floods, etc. 
  • Increases community’s access to schools, shelters/feeding, water, communications, transportation, and public safety/health services during disasters.
  • Mobile battery units are scalable and can be deployed to address small and large applications without geographic limitations. 
  • The GPODS project develops the FEMA BCA (Business Costs Analysis) with the state and leverages a cross-sector approach to meet or exceed FEMA BCA requirements.  
  • The GPODS project partners provide all initial grant application resources to the state at no cost.



This virtual meeting focused on a briefing from Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) on the GPODS project from the state/local government perspective. 
In This Video...
0:00 - Background
01:47 - Why was this project of interest to VDEM?
3:00 - Challenges states face with FEMA BRIC program
4:30 - The FEMA Benefits Cost Analysis (BCA) Challenge
6:05 - Overcoming limited resources w/partnerships
8:10 - Picking local communities and sites for a pilot
11:04 - Organizing VDEM internally to support the effort
13:57 - Internal obstacles, optics or hurdles
16:18 - How the project will help disadvantaged communities
20:24 - Ancillary community benefits of the project
22:20 - Where is this capability going in the future?


A technical overview of the GPODS project with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) and Dominion Energy
In This Video...
1:00 - Agenda
2:00 - Definitions and components
4:30 - Why energy storage is important to utilities
10:00 - Dominion energy storage goals
19:12 - The GPODS Project
26:51 - Challenges
28:36 - Safety
29:35 - The next 5 years


This virtual panel discussed the GPODS (Green Power On-Demand System) project in Virginia with Dominion Energy. The project involves a leveraging of energy storage technology to create more resilient communities and power infrastructure to serve water, health, public safety, shelter/feeding and dialysis facilities in several disadvantaged communities under the FEMA BRIC (Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities) grant program.
In This Video...
0:40 - Overview
3:30 - Why is this project important disadvantaged communities
6:50 - How local emergency managers will leverage this project
10:00 - Overcoming government's limited resources
11:06 - How the technology works and benefits communities 
15:09 - How industry partnerships increased resources
18:50 - Working With private sector facility owners
21:30 - How was the utility's partnership with state/local government?
23:00 - Meeting FEMA's BRIC grant requirements
26:01 - Impacts on water/wastewater infrastructure
30:34 - Impacts on energy storage capacity
33:35 - Impacts of just 24 hrs of power being on after an outage
36:40 Questions and Answers
38:49 - Mutual assistance to share across state lines

Frequently Asked Questions


- Phase 1:

  • ​Leverages the data from the SISE ESRI platform
  • ​The primary front-end education
  • ​User management system 
  • ​The buyer & supplier enrollment process 
  • ​The buyer & supplier request/reply process
  • And a basic administration area design

- Phase 2:

  • ​Add user ranking and feedback system for self-governance and monitoring
  • ​Create a mobile app capability
  • ​Integrate with Commercial Routing Assistance (CRA) application to support PPE delivery routing for truckers by including route resistance data as part of supplier selection decision process (a big delay issue during Mar-Jun)

- Phase 3

  • ​Create a similar Exchange sourcing model integrated with the CRA for:
  • ​Commercial generator providers
  • ​Fuel truck distributors


The AHC’s leadership is fully committed to continue its goal of operationalizing ESF 14 and producing tangible, operational use cases and solutions for both industry and government.
ESF 14 Purpose:
“Emergency Support Function (ESF) #14 supports the coordination of cross-sector operations, including stabilization of key supply chains and community lifelines, among infrastructure owners and operators, businesses, and their government partners.”
-Excerpt from DHS CISA ESF#14 Overview Document.
ESF 14 Intended Outcomes:
The ESF 14 doctrine outlined what the private sector has been looking for a long while: reducing their overall risks by ongoing planning, information sharing, and coordinating research, data analytics, and response operations with states and federal agencies whenever possible, to produce operational results.
“Intended Outcomes: ESF #14 provides unique services to enhance response operations. ESF #14 is a platform that engages the private sector, leverages existing resources and capabilities within the affected community, and provides analytical capabilities focused on interdependencies. These activities support other existing Federal and state procedures.” 
-Excerpt from DHS CISA ESF#14 Overview Document.
At the end of the 2017 hurricane season, the AHC, along with 30+ partners submitted a letter of recommendation that included suggested improvements on how FEMA and DHS CISA could
improve cross-sector communications and coordination with industry and states during emergency and non-emergency scenarios.
With input from the AHC and many other sources, FEMA/ DHS CISA shortly developed the ESF 14 concept and rolled it out in 2018.
Since that time, the AHC and its SISE working group, have been focused on operationalizing the ESF 14 doctrine at the regional and state levels with states and industry on specific problems or use cases.
The ongoing cross-sector working groups and use case committees have been developing new use cases and solving problems with state and federal agency participation, especially over the past several months with the COVID-19 pandemic. 
ESF 14 & the AHC
ESF 14 doctrine was adopted by the AHC Board of Directors and its working groups in early 2019. 
The FEMA “life-lines” and DHS CISA “national critical functions” have been used to align SISE Use Cases to federal priorities and as an education tool to help industry understand how DHS CISA works to help them reduce risks by supporting their planning, response and recovery functions incidents that affect their organizations, their supply chains, and their communities.
How the AHC Uses ESF 14
The private sector understands that most of their operational actions during disasters require close coordination with multiple state agencies (who don’t always coordinate well in some states), but in coordination with the appropriate federal partners (who don’t always coordinate well). 
This doesn’t always happen on periodic disaster calls. Ongoing planning and problem solving needs to happen year-round.
Starting with joint planning and closed discussions these working groups will focus on operational problems facing industry or states, Use Cases are developed that form the overall framework to work the problem towards one or several solutions, leverage existing R&D, identify existing solutions, create partnerships, and build trust between the invested participant.
The entire process is based upon sustained private sector supported planning, problem solving, results and trust.
Enabling Trusted Problem Solving
The SISE’s “integrated planning capability” has been fundamental to the “trust” between government and industry.
According to the private sector, it is the trust that is missing, not the data, the technology, the policies, the processes, or the products. These all help but do not often sustain when people rotate in and out of their jobs or roles within their respective organizations. Once trust between people is achieved, problem-solving is accelerated dramatically.
Problems are solved (or show progress being made), the participants want to repeat the process again, and again, and again.
Results - Inter-Dependency Awareness
ESF#14 doctrine with the SISE has helped create an “interdependency awareness” across electric, telecommunications, fuel, food, transportation, finance, health, water, lodging, retail, and logistics by utilizing professionals that have been involved in the Use Case development process within the SISE. 
Results - State Adoption
In early 2018, the SISE created a new Use Case Committee comprised of state private sector liaisons who work in state emergency management agencies to work with the Fleet Response Working Group to address issues around fleet movement across state lines. This group started with liaisons in FL, NC, VA, MD, & PA who met weekly for 18 months. Using ESF 14 as part of the strategy, this committee became instrumental to the private sector’s operational problem-solving weekly calls during “blue-sky” days and response partners during disasters. Today this committee has expanded to include LA, MS, AL, OE, IL and AR. 
Results – Operational Solutions Produced 
Solving operational problems is what both industry and government operations professionals desire, along with their leadership. The SISE has created a private sector managed “safe space” for candid discussions over complex problems between government and industry stakeholders. The ESF #14 doctrine has created the policy framework government needed at the federal level to organize resources in support of the coordination of cross-sector operations, communications, planning, research and resource/information sharing. This has provided the credibility and legal support that can attract private sector investment of time, energy, etc.… In this environment, the SISE has produced multiple use cases , 100+ solutions, dozens of partnerships and provided government a unique way to gets things done faster while leveraging a willing private sector community that I willing to share the results.
Results – Lowered Risks
Lowering risk is s shared objective of government and industry. Yet, when people are honest about it, lowering risk is not always easy to prove or validate. The private sector views risk differently than government many times. Universally, industry and government stakeholders in the SISE like to measure risk reduction using simple metrics: reductions of labor hours, hard costs, process delays, brand damage, personnel safety, customers and increases in process efficiencies, customer satisfaction, safety, brand enhancement, etc…. Each of the SISE solutions were created to reduce operational risks and/or increase operational benefits. Many solutions don’t make the cut or have to be enhanced in order to get fully implemented and sustained.
For example: The SISE has created three PPE solutions to date:
  • PPE solution #1 – created a PPE supplier directory of vetted suppliers
  • PPE solution #2 – created a data service to download the solution 1 data into your systems
  • PPE solution #3 - created a “uber-like” PPE exchange that produces valid PPE quotes within minutes.  
  • Solution #1 was interesting, but few used it. User provided feedback. Planning continued.
  • Solution #2 was also interesting, but few subscribed to the service. Users provided feedback. Planning continued. 
  • Solution #3 was unique and provides a clear and measurable risk reductions (vetted Suppliers, legal agreements/disclaimers) along with measurable process enhancements and cost efficiencies (reduced PPE related staff time by 50% to 80%, reduced labor costs, competitive bids in minutes vs days)
All Rights Reserved 2023 © Copyright All Hazards Consortium