WASHINGTON (AP) – Oregon State University will receive more than $400,000 in federal funds to research how large earthquakes, like ones that could strike in the Cascadia Subduction Zone, would affect the western electrical grid.

U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, both Oregon Democrats, announced that the award from the National Science Foundation will provide $433,792 to a project titled, “Earthquake Resilience of the Western Power Grid”.

Wyden said it’s vital to understand the risks of a big earthquake to the electrical grid that keeps everything running, so local communities can prepare to respond.

Merkley said the grant will allow Oregon State University to conduct critical research so the West Coast can prepare for the challenges that will follow a major earthquake.