Green Energy Plants Provide Heat and Electricity to Thousands during Super Storm Sandy

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Despite massive power outages in lower Manhattan, Long Island and areas slammed by hurricane Sandy, hi-tech cogeneration power plants designed by Energy Concepts kept the lights and heat on for thousands in buildings lucky enough to have one.

Despite massive power outages in lower Manhattan, Long Island and areas slammed by hurricane Sandy, hi-tech cogeneration power plants kept the lights and heat on for thousands in buildings lucky enough to have one.

November 1, 2012: When hurricane sandy hit the tri-state area Energy Concepts Engineers, designers of the plants, were up round the clock in support of clients and providing emergency assistance. “Our client’s plants remained operating. The plants operated either in parallel with the utility or in critical cases providing full power to a building while the utility was out.” reports William Cristofaro, president of Energy Concepts.

The cogeneration (cogen) plants are installed at the buildings. Engines running off natural gas spin electric generators for building power and the engine heat is recovered to heat the building. The cogen plants produce power on site for a fraction of utility power cost, reduce emissions, and recycle engine heat to use as building heating. They normally run 24/7 all year producing up to 90% of a buildings power and heat. During a utility outage they can run independently without the grid. Unlike emergency generators the cogen plants are designed to run continuously, and use natural gas delivered by underground systems as fuel. They have fewer failures during an emergency and don’t need to rely on diesel fuel delivered by trucks.

At 11 - 5th Avenue, a residential high rise in lower Manhattan when ConEd lost power Monday Oct 29th the cogen plant provided power to the entire 290 apartment residential building. “All other buildings within sight were dark. The building usually houses about 720 people. During the storm the number of people in the building rose to roughly 1,500 as people came from other parts of NYC.” according to Joe Weinschreider Energy Concepts engineer for the project. The CHP plant provided power for the full building including the central boilers, domestic water pumps, all elevators and all apartments. The plant ran 24/7 under computerized control, some on-site supervision and remote monitoring until ConEd power was restored Saturday morning.

At The Long Island Home campus, Long Island, the cogen system provided full power to the hospital, nursing home and other buildings throughout the emergency. Long Island Home engineers pro-actively isolated from LIPA Sunday Oct 28th at 5:45 pm, and remained isolated until the grid stabilized over a week later.

Many more sites designed by Energy Concepts in the NYC area continued to run in parallel with the utility providing desperately needed grid relief to the storm stressed utility system. Without support from the local cogen plants ConEd may have had to shut down additional areas placing even more New Yorkers in the cold and darkness.

“Our customers receive significant energy savings from these plants to pay for them in just a few years. For them to also benefit in such an emergency by having back up power is a great plus.” says Chris Cafer an Associate at Energy Concepts.

Throughout the north east Energy Concepts plants continued to run either in parallel and/or operating independent from the grid when necessary including Central Hudson Community College, St Elizabeth Hospital in Utica NY, St Luke’s Hospital in Utica NY, Fonda Fultonville Schools, The Rochester Greater International Airport, Harbec Plastics, the Monroe County IOLA Campus plant and many others.

Altogether, thousands of individuals received heat, power, fresh water and access to critical hospital, emergency shelter and transportation infrastructure during the emergency with cogeneration plants designed by Energy Concepts.

About Energy Concepts: Energy Concepts Engineering provides advanced mechanical and electrical systems design for buildings including LEED green design, energy conservation systems, and alternative energy. With over 80 on-site cogeneration plants Energy Concepts has designed more building cogen plants than any design firm in the US. Energy Concepts has offices in Rochester NY, Brooklyn NY and Hazlet New Jersey.
Videos of their plants and more can be viewed on their website at:     

Contact: William Cristofaro, PE, President    
Energy Concepts, Rochester, Brooklyn NY, Hazlet New Jersey
Cell: 585-455-7330    
Efax: 718-228-5154    

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Michelle Sommerman

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