Creating Critical Infrastructure for Critical Facilities Requires Collaboration

In this week’s edition of Industry Perspectives, Advanced Energy Group’s H.G. Chissell explores why energy resiliency is key to today’s critical infrastructure, as well as how stakeholders can work together to ensure critical facilities keep the lights on. 

critical infrastructure

H.G. Chissell, founder/CEO
Advanced Energy Group

Ke Wei, senior policy adviser for energy, in the New York City Mayor’s Office of Recovery & Resiliency last spring detailed the city’s efforts to rebuild and reshape the energy landscape through various mechanisms, including the Climate Change Preparedness program which saw Consolidated Edison invest over $1 billion in hardening critical energy infrastructure.

Wei was among a group of speakers participating in an Advanced Energy Group Q1 stakeholder breakfast on the topic of critical infrastructure and microgrids. She highlighted the necessity for investment through a variety of sources that would involve collaboration among many public and private sector partners.

Another speaker, Jenna Agins, energy and sustainability specialist at the NYU Langone Medical Center, sparked a vivid memory of the devastation left by Superstorm Sandy and the importance of critical energy infrastructure for buildings, especially those that are central to urban life, such as NYU Langone.  Last October rang the fifth-year anniversary of that catastrophic event and the value of preparedness has not lost its luster in the eyes of New Yorkers.

H.G. Chissell will serve as master of ceremonies at Microgrid 2018.

In the wake of Sandy, NYU Langone is pursing a campus transformation with energy resiliency at its core, and the benefits beyond preparedness are stacking up. With extensive onsite cogeneration, backup generators, backup steam boilers, high voltage electric service from Con Edison, and flood walls, this medical center is surely prepared.  The benefits to society from this transformation are far reaching and are realized without being put to use in the face of disaster.  The carbon emission and operating cost reductions are already paying off.

The cost of resilient energy infrastructure can be significantly reduced via collaboration among stakeholders. Click To Tweet

Transforming the energy infrastructure of the facilities society relies on the most is a daunting task, but not unachievable.  Collaboration among facility managers, municipal governments, utilities, solution providers and other stakeholders is vital to the completion of these mega-projects.  For New York City, this collaboration is needed among a broad group of stakeholders including the Mayor’s Office, Con Edison, Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and our building owners.  The good news is that this collaboration is underway through diverse stakeholder dialogue in New York and many of our biggest cities.

Resilient energy infrastructure not only prepares healthcare facilities for the unexpected loss of grid power, but it also shields the critical and sensitive equipment from commonly unnoticed outages.

Advocate Health Care is the largest health system in Illinois, and they too value the benefit of critical infrastructure and resiliency.  At the Chicago Advanced Energy Q1 stakeholder breakfast, York Chan, administrator of facilities, explained that a 96-hour backup window is now the industry standard for hospitals and short duration power outages occur more frequently than imagined.  Hospitals’ dependence on truly reliable power cannot be understated as life-support equipment is jeopardized without it and the ability to serve society’s most basic needs are diminished.

Resilient energy infrastructure not only prepares healthcare facilities for the unexpected loss of grid power, but it also shields the critical and sensitive equipment from commonly unnoticed outages.  By collaborating with other urban stakeholders, the financial and operational burdens of developing such important projects can be significantly reduced.

H.G. Chissell is founder and CEO at Advanced Energy Group

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