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Linesmen working to restore power during an intense ice storm

Synthetic Resiliency Modeling on Extended Power Outages

RUNWITHIT Synthetics (RWI), in collaboration with EPRI, will apply synthetic modeling to forecast human impacts to help the City of Nashville and Nashville Electric Service (NES) assess the outcomes of a widespread outage on residents and the benefits of distributed energy resource (DER) deployments against measured impacts.

Download the project snapshot



Nashville has experienced a variety of extreme weather events over the last decade, including heat waves, flooding and tornadoes, which produce electrical outages across the city. These events cause damage to the city and interrupt the lives of residents. With the increasing likelihood of outages from extreme weather events and other factors, such as cybersecurity attacks, there is an emphasis on studying and modeling ways Nashville can be more resilient in the face of these events. This includes studying DER adoption across the city and how these resources impact residents’ experiences with severe events.

Pilot Illustration


Pilot Illustration

TVA and EPRI are collaborating with Nashville Electric Service and the City of Nashville to model an extended power outage in Nashville and the potential benefits of placement and adoption of DER across the city. By using a city-wide outage, those with and without DER at their homes or businesses can be compared, as everyone experiences the outage at the same time but is not impacted equally. The software used in this exercise will model the impacts of the first 24 hours, the first 72 hours, and a full week of an outage to measure the social justice impact on residents and the economic impacts on businesses. Additionally, this modeling will allow TVA and NES to examine the potential grid impacts of an outage and how potential DER adoption may mitigate risks. By modeling a short- and long-term outage, TVA and NES can compare the predicted impacts and results to help Nashville better prepare for these kinds of risk events.


The success of this pilot will be measured by the following :

  1. Determine placement of DER within Nashville.
  2. Development of materials that help community groups better engage in resiliency planning.
  3. Use of the outputs created in this pilot project during resiliency planning.
  4. Implementation of modeling for resiliency planning by NES.
  5. Gain insight into community resilience impacts to inform resilience initiatives specific to DAC communities.

Ariel view of Nashville neighborhood

Key Levers for Success

This highly technical pilot project requires a team that is knowledgeable and skilled in software modeling. Additionally, working together with city leaders and various other partner organizations is important to provide a complete look at the potential impacts of a city-wide outage of services.

The Team

Steven Coley, manager, Grid R&D, TVA

Samuel Delay, senior project manager, Technology Innovation, TVA

Georgia Caruthers, senior program manager, Innovation and Research, TVA

Daniel Hanks, engineering supervisor, Distribution Planning, NES

Tony Richman, manager, Energy Services Engineering, NES

Kendra May Abkowitz, chief sustainability and resilience officer, City of Nashville

Sama Ahmed, product manager, RWI

Dean Bittner, CTO and co-founder, RWI

Myrna Bittner, CTO and co-founder, RWI

Katelyn Petersen, client executive, RWI

Quentin Randall, client executive, RWI

Anne Haas, chief, U.S. operations, RWI

Jared Green, technical leader, Distribution Operations and Planning, EPRI

Incubatenergy Labs Team, EPRI

Next Steps / Timeline

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The following timeline is over the course of a 20-week period:

  • Initiation: Confirm successful direction and define successful outcomes for the pilot project (2 weeks)
  • Milestone 1: Synthesize the region, including people, residences, businesses, and load, pre-outage to establish a baseline (4 weeks)
  • Milestone 2: Examine the first 24 hours in detail, including social justice impacts, economic impacts, detailed risks mapping and synthetic gird impact areas, and potential DER mitigation(6 weeks)
  • Milestone 3: Characterize the first 3 days and week of the outage and compare long-term impacts with the short-term impacts from Milestone 2 (6 weeks)
  • Wrap-up: Highlight the key findings and insights into the project and measure key success factors (2 weeks)