The nation’s prosperity is directly linked to secure, reliable and affordable energy. Yet, the vulnerabilities of the country’s energy infrastructure were highlighted during recent weather disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina.
“As these disasters illustrated, the safety and well-being of the people and the economy are severely impacted if the electrical infrastructure is lost for an extended period of time,” Richard Sweetser said. “One way to avoid the failure is through use of combined heat and power (CHP) systems.”
On Aug. 29, 2005, the hurricane hit Jackson and the city’s main power grid failed, the hospital’s standby power was enabled, and city water lost. Three hours later, the connection to grid was restored, the hospital load shed about 1.2 megawatts and pumping trucks were supplying water to physical plant. Five hours after that, the grid again became unstable and the hospital switched to island mode and ran only with its 3.2 megawatts cooling, heating and power system. For the next 52 hours, Baptist Medical Center was the only hospital in the Jackson Metro area to be nearly 100 percent operational.
Another example is the blackout that hit the Great Lakes region in August 2003, affecting millions of people and cost the economy more than $5 billion. When Amityville, N.Y., lost power for 14 hours, South Oaks Hospital continued normal operations, automatically disconnecting from the failing grid, and powering up its 1.3 megawatts CHP system to handle the full load of the hospital.
“Hospital staff never even knew there was a blackout until the local police station called to see if they needed assistance and numerous calls started to come in from worried relatives checking on patients,” Sweetser said.
For more on ASHRAE’s CHP efforts, visit this link.