Sept. 13, 2018 | SOURCE: Touchstone Energy Cooperatives
Energy security should be a top priority for every facility. Fire, storms, accidents, natural disasters and other emergencies can threaten your available energy supplies. Your emergency protection plan should include measures to secure critical energy sources.
Know the risks
First, identify critical sources of energy:
- Backup power: test generators regularly and ensure that you have an adequate, fresh fuel supply. Monitor uninterruptible power supply operation.
- Renewables: keep service contact information on hand and understand warranty and maintenance requirements.
- Natural gas: understand the vulnerabilities from production to distribution.
- Petroleum: know where fuel is stored and from where deliveries are made.
Once you identify these sources, ask yourself the following questions:
- What critical processes or equipment require protection?
- What degree of protection is needed for each?
- Are redundant systems needed for some critical equipment?
- What equipment requires safety shut downs?
- What type of physical security do you need to protect your energy sources?
Your storage facilities may require fencing, extra security equipment, additional personnel or underground maintenance.
Consider documenting system performance in an emergency, including major energy assets outside of your control. How close are you to a population? Are there significant energy feeds from utilities? Determine what standby measures should be implemented. When power is restored, what equipment has priority and how long will it take to become operational?
Develop a robust plan
Planning is critical to becoming energy secure. Determine what's needed in order to continue functioning. Identify threats to your energy supply, what is mission critical and the types of energy needed for important functions. Make the ISO 50001 Energy Management Systemstandard a part of your security plan; it helps to integrate all facility components.
Rank your risks; focus on the ones you can control and pose the biggest threat. If a process or equipment depends on one source of energy or one way to add redundancy, it's highly vulnerable.
Include as many people as possible early in the process, including upper management and operations staff, as well as outside agencies and experts. Know who to call and consider joint training with agencies. Coordinate with federal, state and local authorities; work with partners, vendors and utilities.
Don't ignore the simple stuff, such as fuel storage, maintenance and spare parts for backup equipment. Use a single supplier for backup generators and purchase equipment using the same fuel.
Reducing demand will help you survive the next emergency. First, look at passive approaches, including climate and location, and active design, such as HVAC systems. Determine what loads you can do without in case of an emergency. What consumes the most energy? Can you maintain power for critical operations? How long does it take for backup power to start after an outage?
Determine your peak loads, what causes them and when. Use existing metering and data to identify trends. Load shedding increases the energy security of your facility; consider sending people home early, shutting down equipment and raising the thermostat. Can you support critical loads with on-site generation or by changing time variables?
Remember, load reduction requires a careful balance between supply and demand.
Revise and retest
Update your plan and consider new technology as it becomes available. Monitor your protection system and test backup equipment regularly. Reassess your risks and protection system during any facility change or major equipment upgrade.
Report power outages
Make sure you have updated utility contact information readily available in case of an outage or other emergency. To view NGEMC's outage map, visit our Outage Center on this website.
Because our phone lines might be busy during periods of heavy call volume, you may also report power outages with our free My NGEMC Account mobile app for iPhone and Android devices or by logging into your account through our Member Services Center.