IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - May/June 2014 - 72

From an infrastructure-planning perspective,
disasters have distinct phases, some of which could last
several months or even years.

During hurricanes, most issues leading to power outages originate at the transmission and distribution level
of the power grid. this was exemplified by an electrical
island formed after hurricane Gustav, roughly along the
mississippi river between new orleans and Baton rouge,
louisiana, where, despite having a 320-mw operating generation capacity, power outage incidences still reached close
to 100% of the grid customer base in most of the parishes
within the electrical island.
microgrids are often a good option for powering loads
during extensive power outages that occur during hurricanes and their aftermath. although the above-mentioned
hurricanes caused extensive grid power outages, natural
gas distribution networks did not have outages as severe as

figure 8. A fallen pole in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, after
Hurricane Gustav. (Source: A. Kwasinski.)

those experienced by the electric power grids. microgrids
with natural gas-fueled sources, such as microturbines or
fuel cells with local reformers, have a higher probability
of remaining operational after hurricanes. such characteristics can be exemplified by the microgrid at Verizon's
Garden City, new York, Central office, which is powered
by seven 200-kw fuel cells (see Figure 9) and functioned
satisfactorily after hurricane irene and superstorm sandy
affected the u.s. east coast in 2011 and 2012, respectively.
since fuel cells have a relatively slow dynamic response,
this site relies on diesel generators for local power supply
during grid outages. the main function of the fuel cells
is to reduce power consumption from the grid. although
unconventional, this configuration based on two diverse
power sources meets the microgrid definition given previously. moreover, by reducing power consumption from
the grid, this microgrid represents an excellent solution for
natural phenomena such as heat waves or severe droughts
when conventional power grids are severely stressed.
additionally, it also indicates a contributing solution to the
power-consumption reduction efforts during long aftermaths of disasters, such as the one experienced in Japan,
in which the grid's power generation resources are severely
reduced. in general, distributed generation systems based
on diesel-fueled generators (Figure 10) are the main choice
for powering loads after hurricanes. in some cases, even
electric power utilities rely on these types of generators to
realize small ad-hoc-distributed generation systems used
to provide emergency power to critical loads.
During superstorm sandy, natural gas cogeneration assets at the campuses of new York university and
Princeton university kept their local loads supplied with
electricity. the microgrid at the Federal Drug administration's white oak research Facility in maryland was
also able to supply its local loads by islanding from the
grid during superstorm sandy. another example is that of
the natural-gas-powered combined heat and power units
based on the Consortium for electric reliability technology solutions (Certs) microgrid model, which were
retrofitted in a building complex in Greenwich Village,
new York, that was able to tide over the outages caused
by superstorm sandy.

Floods in Queensland, Australia
figure 9. Fuel cells outside Verizon's Garden City, New
York, Central Office. (Source: A. Kwasinski.)
72

ieee power & energy magazine

From December 2010 to early January 2011, a series of
floods occurred in Queensland, the northeastern state of
may/june 2014



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - May/June 2014

IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - May/June 2014 - Cover1
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