There were widespread power outages this week in Washington, DC, impacting the White House, the State Department, universities and the Smithsonian. The cause was reportedly a piece of metal that broke loose from a power line 43 miles southeast of the District, according to the Washington Post. The news outlet said in many cases, backup generators kicked in.
But the high-profile outage showcased how susceptible government, public and privately-owned buildings are to sudden power interruptions often due to aging infrastructure and extreme weather conditions.
Darren Hammell, co-founder and chief strategic officer with Princeton Power Systems, says, “We design and deploy advanced energy management systems, including microgrids that can be islanded from the larger grid in the event of emergencies. Microgrids can ensure that hospitals, government buildings, corporate headquarters, colleges and homes still have electricity in the event of a power outage.”
Distinct from a typical backup power system, microgrids operate all the time and provide efficiency and economic benefits when the electricity is working normally, but they are also available for prolonged outages.
S&C Electric Company and Schneider Electric recently completed one of the most advanced microgrids in North America for Oncor, an electric transmission and distribution company serving 10 million customers across Texas. Among other benefits, the microgrid will improve power reliability for Oncor customers in the event of outages.
Photo: White House via Shutterstock