New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg just announced a Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency
(SIRR). The initiative is intended to be a strategic alliance between the New York State Utilities and the City of New York. The objective is to design strategies to anticipate, measure and monitor major weather events and their impact on the local infrastructure and the power grid itself.
The most obvious area of collaboration is in updating of the Disaster Recovery Plans in light of the experience gained from Hurricane Sandy. The hurricane itself triggered a massive response by all levels of government. The existing Disaster Recovery Plans need to be updated to reflect future preventive steps gleaned by government planners in returning the Metropolitan area to normal after this storm and future storms.
Examples of the learning experience include shutting down transportation facilities before the storm,
evacuating people in areas proximate to the storm surge, relocating power plant operations on higher
ground and building strategically located artificial barriers to manage local flooding.
In the future, city planners need to surround Manhattan island with natural barriers like parks and playgrounds instead of high rise buildings. In addition, remote data collection sites which replicate data need to be located in areas far removed from major waterways and earthquake zones.
A hallmark of the SIRR effort is to formulate a smart grid with artificial intelligence capabilities
to enhance electrical algorithms in light of newly gained experience. Practically speaking, this effort
means that machines can learn from the experience gained from individual storms.
Traditionally, knowledge engineers have updated artificial intelligence databases by consulting with a community of experts in order to update the system algorithms to handle newly encountered conditions for events like major storms and other natural disasters.
Before the smart power grid can be addressed, city planners and local utilities must first define the power grid. The power grid consists of power generation, maintenance and delivery from Con Edison, local carriers like Direct Energy, nuclear power plant operators, wind energy farms, geothermal, solar, ocean wave power generation and the general public.
Many thousands of private homeowners and even small businesses have installed their own solar panels which feed into the overall power grid. Private homeowners receive a credit on their electric bills for solar power fed back into the system from individual homesite solar energy roof installations. Increasingly municipalities, educational institutions and even hospitals are generating their own power from solar energy and other sources like natural gas. This trend will grow and expand as new housing is built with solar energy capabilities.
In order to have the maximum benefit, the SIRR project must identify all of the strategic constituencies which generate power in New York City and the surrounding areas. Once all of the strategic constituencies have been identified, the smart power grid can interface with each power generator/source in order to arrive at an optimal strategy to protect the system from the grossest effects of natural disasters which impact the region.
Credits: First Published on Blogcritics