Storms, Solar Storms, and Struggles to Keep Power
LG: Clearly devastating storms often hit the deep South. In your reporting, do you know how prepared the city and the people of New Orleans are for this disaster and how preparedness can help in this case?
LN: Sure, the main use of electricity in the area, Entergy is familiar with the recovery process in these situations, because unfortunately, they have to do it regularly. If the rain stops and it’s the first morning you’ve seen this wreckage, the important thing is a meticulous inspection process to make sure Entergy and the other small facilities in the area are fully aware of it. what is wrong, what are the problems power stations, what are the problems with the transmission lines we have discussed, what are the problems with every inch local power lines, and take a picture in the system so you can start planning about how you are going to bring its parts as well.
Having that experience from past storms allows them to do that process as best they can, even if their estimates are still days to weeks. This doesn’t mean you can do it in two days, but after Katrina, they were able to give back power to all the buildings that could receive power. There is such a large amount of damage that is not provided, but that process takes 40 days.
In the next storm recovery, they got it. At first it was like 30 days. Now, always, about three weeks. I think that historic track record is kind of what informs them that they say they hope to get it all back in about three weeks. Many parts can be restored before that. They try to get everything back as quickly as they can. And the infrastructure projects we’ve talked about – like levies, flood walls, flood gates, pumps – are all important things, even if they’re not grid infrastructures, because if you don’t flood or much less the flooding, the easier you can start the inspection process.
Otherwise, you’ll have to wait days for the flood waters to drain before you can really check. The entergy and other equipment will be available on fan boats and items to get you started early. But obviously, you can’t restore the flow of electricity to a ton of water. I think that’s pretty obvious not to work. All things considered, all the infrastructure improvements have contributed to help the grid move as quickly as possible.
I also remember, however, that there were pastures in New Orleans and low-lying areas where projects were still planned but not yet completed because it was a huge effort from Hurricane Katrina to fundamentally. well on flood protections. That’s why there really are suburbs now in New Orleans where there are is severe flooding, and they still have to go through the old process of waiting for the waters to recede, checking the boats while. In fact, even if the success of those steps has been gratifying and much comforting, the process has not been determined with certainty.
MC: Now Lily, you said in your story that there are some new power plants, I think two new power plants in New Orleans that are designed to be pretty strong in the storm. What happened to those during the storm?
LN: Yes. As such Entergy is working a class partner with the state of Louisiana, bringing the line of these two new power stations, which are natural gas. They are charged more efficiently than other, older Entergy natural-gas power plants, and they are rendered more clean and green; at least that’s the tone about them. The purpose of natural gas, it is very much in place. It’s easy to stay online during disasters. That’s the idea behind it, OK, it’s hurricane-proof because it runs on natural gas, except as you pointed out, like most power plants in the area, those plants are under or partially depleted. And so it shows that there is still an unresolved part here of how this resilience plan will work forward. And this raises questions about how to fix it, for sure.