Laura Sanchez 2016-06-06 18:00:02
According to Greek mythology, when Odysseus bravely entered the labyrinth to vanquish the Minotaur, thanks to a gift from Ariadne—a thread that traced his path through the labyrinth’s dark passageways—the Athenian hero was able to find his way back out into the light. During a “lights-out” catastrophic response exercise in November of last year, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) simulated a cyberattack on the US power grid. As many of you know, GridEx III was the largest geographically distributed grid security exercise to date with 4,400 individuals from 364 organizations across North America participating. The exercise delivered an email corrupted with malware, which plunged the distribution grid into darkness, and pushed participants to the “ragged edge” according to NERC associate director of stakeholder engagement Bill Lawrence. The scenario simulated chaos—economic instability, disruption to water resources as electric pumps failed, and public pandemonium as transportation networks and urban infrastructure collapsed. The purpose of exercises such as this is for participants to knowingly enter into catastrophic conditions to learn how energy systems, equipment, procedures, and staff respond when things go wrong. The experience offers perspective, allowing each participant to observe its current path from disaster to power security, evaluate it, and in some cases outline a better one. After all, crisis management is often a matter of defining and following a trusted route out of the darkness. At the business level we map out redundancy strategies and equipment protection plans to ensure energy reliability. Our production lines, facility systems, customer lives, and economic exchanges depend on it. It’s essential for business continuity. And thankfully, there are many paths to power security. From diversifying energy supply routes and fuel sources, to redundancy, and the integration of alternative sources, it seems there is a different strategy and set of resources for every energy reliability objective and application. This issue of Business Energy includes a collection of articles that outline various roadmaps to power security. Our hope is that it may guide your navigation along the most efficient route. We explore microgrids as a flexible solution to renewable energy integration and reliable distributed energy in “Power Security” (pg. 10) with an in-depth look at the Idaho National Laboratory’s microgrid, powered by a run-of-the-river hydropower plant. In “Turbine Technology” (pg. 16) we explore the diverse range of turbine power solutions for business energy applications, from data centers and schools to critical health care facilities. We discuss the advantages of micoturbines, the benefits of cogeneration, fuel flexibility, and combined-cycle turbines, as well as large-scale applications with greater thermal and electrical demands. From mobile generators to biofuel generators, and cogeneration options, we outline ways to maintain business continuity during power outages in “Engines and Gensets for Emergencies” (pg. 28). We explore backup power and efficient solutions to prevent downtime when disaster strikes. Our Facility Focus this issue (pg. 44) is on hospitals. It offers critical solutions—from CHP and CCHP options to fuel cells and microgrids—to ensure power reliability for healthcare facilities. Switchgear protect our power equipment on a fundamental level. And in “Switchgear Solutions” (pg. 38) we take a look at the ways in which switchgear safeguard panels and equipment when faults or emergencies cause instability, and we examine the range of customization options available. Each of these articles outlines valuable pathways to dependable energy sources, by way of current technologies and practical solutions. In support of your efforts to prevent catastrophic power loss, our hope is that these trusted strategies may guide you through the labyrinth toward power security with efficiency and steadfast reliability. Just follow the thread. What’s your path to power security? BE
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