Could Solar Have Helped NYC After Hurricane Sandy?

Options
RSSfeed
RSSfeed Registered Users Posts: 3,810 ✭✭
With millions still left without electricity a week after Hurricane Sandy hit the Northeastern United States, many are left wondering how this aftermath could have been alleviated in some way. Solar is a relatively safe form of energy, a feature that may be overlooked in a state of crisis such as superstorm Sandy that disabled New York City’s power grid this week. Unlike fossil fuel plants, solar plants require no combustible fuels to generate...

go to solarfeeds for the rest of this story>>>>>solarfeed?d=yIl2AUoC8zA solarfeed?i=kqsoK1cOSBc:1TToQXcZ4m0:gIN9vFwOqvQ solarfeed?d=qj6IDK7rITs solarfeed?i=kqsoK1cOSBc:1TToQXcZ4m0:V_sGLiPBpWU solarfeed?d=dnMXMwOfBR0
kqsoK1cOSBc

More...

Comments

  • westbranch
    westbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Options
    Re: Could Solar Have Helped NYC After Hurricane Sandy?

    Hmmmm, only the last 2 paragraphs tell of the stark reality of Solar in a 'Sandy' like situation.
    The beginning starts out saying , to me , that Solar is the Messiah in waiting but deftly avoids the issue that Sandy took out the grid!!! So, why denigrate other sources of electricity , when the source has nothing to do with the issue, The REAL ISSUE is that the GRID is old and FEEBLE and in need or upgrading. without the grid even GT solar is useless (Last paragraph).
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • Cariboocoot
    Cariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭✭
    Options
    Re: Could Solar Have Helped NYC After Hurricane Sandy?

    But if every house had its own grid-tied solar with battery-backed inverter ...

    Of course apartment houses don't fare well in that scenario.

    Maybe every house should have its own grid-fed battery-based kW hour allocation system ...

    Although what do you do when the power outage lasts longer than the batteries?

    And if you upgrade the distribution system to withstand one storm, along comes a stronger one. It takes careful analysis to determine if the utility failed due to some short-coming of design or execution or if it is simply the fact that nature is capable of throwing weather at us that can take down anything we build no matter how strong.
  • peakbagger
    peakbagger Solar Expert Posts: 341 ✭✭✭
    Options
    Re: Could Solar Have Helped NYC After Hurricane Sandy?

    At least in my location, it was dark and dreary for 4 to 5 days after the storm. I generated little pewer and ate into my reserve.
  • solar_dave
    solar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,397 ✭✭✭✭
    Options
    Re: Could Solar Have Helped NYC After Hurricane Sandy?

    Thinking the cost of off grid power or backup generation via generator, would it not be a bit better to pay the utility a slight increase to get a more resilient grid via an upgrade to that old feeble grid in the northeast. if an upgraded grid was just slightly better and decreased the outages by say 50% then bringing the other 50% back should be much quicker.
  • peakbagger
    peakbagger Solar Expert Posts: 341 ✭✭✭
    Options
    Re: Could Solar Have Helped NYC After Hurricane Sandy?

    I used to work for a firm that had built a "power plant in a box" for NYC. New York was looking for multiples of these after Sept 11th. Basically it was a gas turbine mouted on a tractor trailer with a seperate trailer for the power electronics to allow the turbine to tie into the grid and allow the substation to "island" from the main grid. They were supposed to be buying multiples of these units to be stored in warehouses in case they were needed.

    Unfortunately the local distribution was what got nailed and that just requires lots of bodies and equipment rebuilding it one pole at a time, plus squads of electrical contractors to rebuild each service.
  • ggunn
    ggunn Solar Expert Posts: 1,973 ✭✭✭
    Options
    Re: Could Solar Have Helped NYC After Hurricane Sandy?

    Usually in a situation like that which occurred during and after Hurricane Sandy, it isn't the power plants that have the problem, it's the distribution system, so any power source, be it coal, gas, nuke, wind, or solar that feeds into the grid is faced with the same problem - massive parallel shorts and open circuits. Only microgrids disconnected from the main grid could help, and with solar, that means batteries.
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,530 admin
    Options
    Re: Could Solar Have Helped NYC After Hurricane Sandy?

    Dump 10' of salt water in a residential area--And there is nothing much that will survive that without a scrape down and rebuild. As peakbagger and ggun say--all the power in the world (or a 2kW genset and lots of fuel) is going to be extension cord time in a building that is (most likely) unsafe and not even worth/possible to repair in any type of short time period. Let alone, needing new appliances to power. And where would people install batteries/generators/fuel/food/emergency supplies--Third floor/attic area? Not a great personal survival solution either.

    Outside of the flood zone--The homes/appliances are still usable and power would be a life saver/bringing back normalcy to the situation. And that is probably what is happening anyway to most other folks now.

    Enough power/fuel/water/food to last 3-10 days is enough to survive until it is clear what will happen next (more fuel/water/food for another couple weeks for shelter in place; or having to leave for safer locations until the infrastructures of power/goods distribution and up and running again to support large numbers of people again).

    And for areas that had more than a foot or four of flooding--Should rebuilding even be an option (a whole 'nother kettle of fish').

    In the city I grew up in, we have an area next the the ocean that has flooded to a few feet deep every couple of decades (after every flood--the fixed/upgraded the pumping systems so it would never happen again)... The residential areas and shopping centers remain, but the major AT&T long distance operation did leave (and donated the building/grounds to the city--as I recall). The area flooded is not that large (just an area pretty close to the ocean--the rest of the valley is higher and not subject to flooding by the ocean). The roads and the rest of the infrastructure are not usually badly affected--So even for those affected, they only have to go a few blocks to be back on "dry land".

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • solarix
    solarix Solar Expert Posts: 713 ✭✭
    Options
    Re: Could Solar Have Helped NYC After Hurricane Sandy?

    I think that we need a new holiday to celebrate the wonders of electricity. A "lights out day" or a "day off". Shut it all down for a day once a year, and see what life is like without all the modern comforts. Kind of like a snow day. Maybe call it Sandy day or disaster day or something - maybe do it on 9/11 which would be generally good weather. We are all so spoiled, just assuming these comforts will always be there, never taking the time to prepare for a rainy day. So many people had at least a couple of days warning of Sandy's threat and still did nothing. In the old days, people lived a lot more independently - because they had to. Now - most of society depends on our modern infrastructure and it works so well, hardly anyone (except us solar nuts) do anything to prepare. A day off would be a good thing. People might get off their couch for awhile and do something for once. Ok, well maybe leave the phones on. The grid managers would have to practice restarting the system regularly and gear up for it which would force the grid to be more resilient for unplanned outages.
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,530 admin
    Options
    Re: Could Solar Have Helped NYC After Hurricane Sandy?

    Combining the laws of unintended consequences and large numbers--I fear that the test/prep will be worse than the actual failures...

    300+ million people storing fuel/running generators will probably result in 100's of deaths and thousands of injuries (at least the first few times it is tried).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Cariboocoot
    Cariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭✭
    Options
    Re: Could Solar Have Helped NYC After Hurricane Sandy?

    That's what "Earth Hour" is about, solarix! A trendy bit of 'feel good' for wannabe tree-huggers to pretend they're doing something for the environment.

    Instead of buying a Kill-A-Watt and getting a handle on their year-round power wasting and actually reducing it all the time.

    We're starting to see victims of Sandy showing up on the forum looking for back-up power answers. The issues are too complex to be subject to simple solutions. I know a fellow who is deeply involved in grid management, and the nightmare of it is beyond most people's ken.

    Every form of technology is vulnerable to something. That's why those who live off-grid have back-up generators. :D
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,530 admin
    Options
    Re: Could Solar Have Helped NYC After Hurricane Sandy?

    People do learn to live with flooding (Nov 11th, 2012 article):

    Venice 'high water' floods 70% of city
    Venetians direct anger at forecasters after 'exceptional and unpredictable' rise in sea waters floods homes and businesses
    Tourists attached plastic bags to their legs or stripped off to take a dip in St Mark's Square in Venice on Sunday as rising sea waters surged through the lagoon city. High water measuring 1.49 metres (5ft) above the normal level of the Adriatic sea came with bad weather that swept Italy at the weekend, causing floods in historic cities including Vicenza as well in the region of Tuscany 250 miles further south.
    Venice's high water, or "acqua alta", said to be the sixth highest since 1872, flooded 70% of the city and was high enough to make raised wooden platforms for pedestrians float away. The record high water in Venice – 1.94 metres in 1966 – prompted many residents to abandon the city for new lives on the mainland.
    ...
    Bottoni is so used to floods she has installed waterproof furniture and an angled floor. "I cannot keep the water out, but at least I can make sure it goes straight back out when it recedes," she said.
    Matteo Secchi, a hotelier and head of a protest group, who grew up in ground floor flat in Venice and recalls splashing into water on getting out of bed, said his hotel was only safe up to 140cm. "This morning the lagoon came right into the hotel entrance, and this is not clean water – you need to mop with disinfectant twice after it goes down," he said. "The British tourists don't complain but the Americans can't understand how it's possible."
    ...
    Alessandro Maggioni, the city's assessor for public works, defended the Venice weather centre, describing the high water as "exceptional and unpredictable". The Moses flood barrier system being built to protect the lagoon, due for completion in 2015, would have kept the city dry, he said. "Meanwhile, there is no rise in the incidence of high waters," he said.
    Bottoni disagreed. "My shop now has some form of flooding 100 days a year, up from 30-40 days when I moved in just 10 years ago." But she does not plan to leave. "I was born and raised here and will stay here for the satisfaction of being in Venice."

    Venice is subsiding so flooding has increased over the centuries... But there does appear to be a bit o cognitive dissidence going one here.

    -Bill

    PS: Add link to article with lots of pictures.

    By the way--Venice has no sewage treatment--The drains flush to the canals--Avoiding flood waters is a good idea anywhere to avoid communicable diseases and parasites.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,530 admin
    Options
    Re: Could Solar Have Helped NYC After Hurricane Sandy?

    Prep'ing needs to include a plan/money to retreat to someplace safe/where you can survive (access to shelter/food/water/job/etc...). Placing your life in somebody else's hands is not a good idea:

    http://www.torontosun.com/2012/11/10/sandy-refugees-say-life-in-tent-city-feels-like-prison

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset