By 11 p.m. on October 29, 2012, dozens of ambulances had snaked down First Avenue in New York City. They waited as nurses and firemen carried critically ill patients, including newborns from the neonatal intensive care unit, down dark staircases at one of the city’s premiere medical institutions, New York University’s Langone Medical Center.
After Superstorm Sandy slammed into south Jersey, a 14-foot storm surge pushed north toward New York. The hospital’s emergency power was just one of many systems that failed. It was not the only hospital in New York City to go down as salt water inundated low-lying areas, just the most prominent.
In New Jersey, entire seaside neighborhoods were destroyed. Winds tossed trees across distribution wires throughout the mid-Atlantic and southern New England. Lower Manhattan went black when a substation was flooded. Breezy Point caught fire.
By the following morning, more than 8 million people were without power in the eastern U.S., nearly 1 million of whom were located on Long Island. The Hurricane Sandy Task Force estimated the regional storm cost at least $65 billion.
Immediately after the storm, "resiliency" became a buzzword, and that has not waned. Resiliency means different things to different stakeholders, from rebuilding wetlands and investing in microgrids to raising buildings and reinforcing dunes. Although resiliency encompasses many aspects, one of the key problem issues is an aging electrical grid that is not prepared for increasingly frequent and severe storms.
One year after the storm, we're inviting you to join us for an evening of discussion about the technologies being debated and implemented. PSE&G has announced a $4 billion Energy Strong plan to address resiliency. Long Island Power Authority, which was heavily criticized for its storm response, was privatized and will be run by PSE&G.
Distributed generation, including combined heat and power, was a savior for some during Hurricane Sandy. While NYU's Langone unit in Midtown evacuated more than 200 patients, the university’s main campus was a bright island in a darkened downtown because of its cogeneration plant and ability to island from the grid.
Clean Energy Connections, a series of panel discussions on green and renewable energy in NYC, has gathered a group of changemakers and policy wonks to discuss how energy and technology innovation -- including grid improvement -- could play a role in the city’s resiliency plan.
The panel, hosted by Solar One and NYC ACRE with Greentech Media as the media sponsor, will feature Ariella Maron, associate principal at Happold Consulting; John Cahill, counsel at Chadbourne & Parke LLP; Sergej Mahnovski, director at the New York City Mayor’s Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability (OLTPS); and Thomas G. Bourgeois, director at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Northeast Clean Energy Center. Robert Schimmenti, Vice President of Engineering and Planning at Con Edison, will deliver opening remarks.
Tickets are still available if you can join us in New York City, or bookmark this page to tune into the webcast on October 16, 2013 at 7:05 p.m. EDT for a discussion of what comes next to prepare the city’s grid for future storms and climate change.
Tweet questions @CleanECNYC with hashtag #CleanNRGx.