I have been glued to the news around Hurricane Sandy. Though I’ve lived abroad for many years, I will always consider myself a New Yorker. My son lives near the East River in Brooklyn and is lucky to reside in a modern building with generator backups.
The generators worked when started, since this was a new and green-friendly building, but backup generator systems without proper maintenance and monitoring are known to have high start failure rates. Generator start failure has been a problem during the Sandy aftermath.
I tried to call my son after Sandy hit, but cellular service was down in many areas. As the grid power outage continued, more cellular service became compromised. Seeing this and knowing what is possible raises the question: what lessons can we take from larger-site, emerging-market deployments in remote regions?
PowerOasis has been mainly focused on getting Managed Telecommunication Power solutions to remote sites in emerging markets. The drive for power autonomy is a necessity in many regions that don’t have grids. Getting diesel fuel to remote sites, which requires a long march up mountains in some cases, is extremely costly. This “fuels” the need for power efficiency in diesel generation with hybrid battery systems and with the application of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. In some cases we see the use of the latest technologies, such as Fuel Cell systems, driven by a need to mitigate local diesel fuel theft rather than environmental concern. Fuel theft remains a clear and expensive problem for many remote sites.
Monitor, Control and Improve
Even with legacy equipment, immediate improvements in establishing a reliable, grid-autonomy system can be achieved today. A lot of power systems have been put in place as an assumed utility without attention to centralized command and control. Diesel Generator Backup, if you make sure they are ready when you need them, can lead to immediate improvement in backup capability. At the same time, getting the data on what these systems are doing will allow the operator to know the total power status of the network.
With this data and new deployment and network upgrades, a Holistic Power Managed view can be applied, thus leading to both OPEX and Carbon Emission reduction and a robust mobile infrastructure. The East Coast has not seen a natural disaster of Sandy’s scope in over 100 years. The shock to the system created by recent events has necessitated a focus on immediate recovery. Moving forward, we all must look at what can be done to implement needed changes that promote grid stability in future disasters.