TRENDS & TECHNOLOGY

Power Outage? Switchgear and a Smart Grid Will Keep Hudson Yards Humming Along

POSTED BY TURTLE & HUGHES POWER DISTRIBUTION & AUTOMATION SOLUTIONS BLOG IN PERSPECTIVES, PRODUCTS & TECHNOLOGY


 

Hudson Yards is the biggest private new development New York City has seen since the construction of Rockefeller Center in the 1930s. When complete, Hudson Yards will have 19 million square feet of residential, office and commercial buildings, over 100 shops, restaurants, a creative hub, 14 acres of parks, plazas, gardens, playgrounds and a school. Also included: two cogeneration plants — with switchgear from Turtle & Hughes — that form a smart microgrid, which is designed to keep Hudson Yards running in the case of a power outage.

Smart-Grid Growth

A combination of aging infrastructure, growing demand and a vulnerability to both physical and cyber-attacks means the national grid can’t always be relied on to keep the power on. In a post on Columbia University’s State of the Planet blog, Renee Cho wrote, “In 2016, the United States experienced 3,879 blackouts of more than 48 minutes that affected over 18 million people.” That’s a significant interruption in service — and why the number one goal that’s driving smart-grid growth is improved power security.

 

Preparing for potential power outages isn’t the only thing driving households, businesses and property developers to reduce their reliance on power from the national grid. Other benefits include more efficient power transmission and a reduction of peak-demand price fluctuations.

 

Still, at the forefront of these efforts is the desire to keep the power on no matter what. In developing an alternative energy source for its new urban village, Hudson Yards is addressing a very real concern on the minds of many New Yorkers, who lived through multiple days without power following Hurricane Sandy. After this natural disaster, there’s been a greater focus on ensuring that the power will stay on when there’s any kind of disruption in the energy supply from the national grid.

Cogenerating a Connected Neighborhood

The Hudson Yards development is a complex of connected buildings where all systems, communications and services are integrated to provide residents and visitors with a clean, safe urban experience that encompasses work, rest and play. The residential and commercial residents of Hudson Yards are being given a range of tools, in the form of smart devices, to help them manage energy better within the complex. All of this is supported by a smart microgrid that has two-way digital communication between smart devices to the national grid. This provides data that can be analyzed to ensure that whenever there is going to be a disruption in power, the Hudson Yards grid is ready to take over.

 

By building a redundant system using a combination of ring-breakers, the microgrid can be prevented from ever going down. If the city is ever hit by another storm on the scale of Hurricane Sandy, the communications, lights, fridges and security systems at Hudson Yards will still operate — even if the national grid goes down.

Microgrid Switchgear at Hudson Yards

The switchgear our team built into the microgrid is instrumental in keeping it ready, reliable and efficient as it seamlessly transfers power from the national grid to local power when required.

 

The efficiency and reliability of the switchgear is supported by technical and design assistance, project management and field services provided by a Turtle & Hughes team of dedicated, knowledgeable and experienced professionals that manage the installation and testing of all the equipment before it goes live.

 

In addition, Hudson Yards has an extended maintenance and warranty option through December 2025 to ensure the continued reliability and efficiency of the switchgear equipment that is integral to the operation of the cogeneration plant.

Powering the Future

Although smart grids are growing and an increasing number of homes, businesses, towns and cities are relying on self-generation projects for power, the national grid still has an important role to play. We’re many years away from becoming a country that’s powered solely by small-scale, locally-generated energy.

 

The goal for all types of alternative grids is the same as those at Hudson Yards: better security, more efficient transmission, a resilient infrastructure that can bounce back more quickly and lower costs for consumers. This can be achieved in a number of ways, and upgrading aging infrastructure should a top priority. Turtle & Hughes can help grid owners to do just that.

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