Flaws in New York City's Electrical System Exposed
Nancy Anderson, Ph.D.
The Sallan Foundation
Good reporting on essential matters. You focus on repairing and stormproofing the highly centralized electric power grid, but let's take the next step — refocusing on developing distributed urban power and heat supplies.
Adapting cities to the risks inherent in an increasingly global, unpredictable climate means that the energy systems of twenty-first century cities cannot be twentieth century retreads. We have learned the hard way they aren't reliable, they aren't cheap, and they cannot be made secure.
New York University and the Octagon apartments on Roosevelt Island kept their light and heat going in the wake of Sandy. Let's learn from their resilience.
Sandy's winds shredded suburban electricity networks that run along utility poles. But the storm also devastated the mostly-below ground electric system that runs through the heart of New York City, supplying the stock exchange, the subways, and countless businesses with the power they need to run.
Now Con Edison, the utility that supplies power to the five boroughs and Westchester County (minus Queens' Rockaway Peninsula), is examining the damage. The company is finding its 101 electric substations and 39,000 underground transformers suddenly look more vulnerable and need additional protection.