Storm Reconstruction: Rebuild Smart Reduce Outages, Save Lives, Protect Property
Severe weather, coupled with an aging and overstressed electrical infrastructure, is having a dramatic impact on the U.S. population. In late 2012, Superstorm Sandy’s devastation left 132 people dead; more than 8 million people in 16 states lost power; subway tunnels were inundated with water; 305,000 homes in New York City and 72,000 homes and businesses in New Jersey were damaged or destroyed; sewage plants were crippled, causing hundreds of millions of gallons of sewage to ow into waterways; and four New York City hospitals shut their doors.
Rebuilding after any major storm is a formidable challenge. The core principal of any major reconstruction effort should be to “rebuild smart,” ensuring that reconstruction funds maximize the deployment of technologies to mitigate future power outages, save lives, and protect property.
Resilient and reliable power is critical for rst responders, communications, healthcare, transportation, nancial systems, water and wastewater treatment, emergency food and shelter, and other vital services. When smart technologies are in place, power outages are avoided and lives, homes, and businesses are protected.
Good examples are the deployment of microgrids, energy storage, and cogeneration. As reported in the MIT Technology Review:
- Local power generation with microgrids showed the bene ts of reliability during Hurricane Sandy.
- The Food and Drug Administration’s White Oak research facility in Maryland switched over to its onsite natural gas turbines and engines to power all the buildings on its campus for two and a half days.
- Princeton was able to switch off the grid and power part of the campus with about 11 megawatts of local generation.
- Similarly, a cogeneration plant at New York University was able to provide heat and power to part of the campus.
- A 40MW combined heat and power plant in the Bronx was able to provide electricity and heat to a large housing complex.
The 400-plus member companies of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) and its staff of experienced engineers and electroindustry experts—spanning more than 50 industry sectors—stand ready to assist industry and government of cials when rebuilding after a disaster.