Waterproofing the Underground Smart Grid
Hurricane Sandy has already left about 7.5 million U.S. East Coast residents without power, a number that could climb to 10 million from Maine to North Carolina. Some hard-hit utilities are warning that outages could last more than a week. In the meantime, utilities are scrambling to restore power to centers like downtown Manhattan, or hospitals that are evacuating patients under backup power.
In short, it’s an enormous test of the grid’s ability to handle a major weather disaster, from generation and transmission all the way down to end customer — and both above and below ground. Much of the power infrastructure of New York and other major cities lies underground, making it particularly susceptible to flooding, as well as difficult and dangerous to operate or repair under flooding conditions.
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