August 27th, 2011 | Uncategorized

Power plant should be able to supply Yale during Irene

Yale uses approximately half of the electricity it produces at the Yale Central Power Plant.
Yale uses approximately half of the electricity it produces at the Yale Central Power Plant. Photo by Emily Foxhall.

Employees at Yale’s Central Power Plant, located next door to Swing Space at the corner of Grove and Ashmun Streets, are confident they will be able to supply power throughout Yale’s campus throughout tonight and tomorrow’s storm.

“We probably, on campus, should not see any power interruptions,” plant manger Thomas Starr said. “That’s our expectation.”

Utility companies — which provide roughly half of Yale’s electricity while the Power Plant generates the rest — reach campus by underground wires, so falling trees are not a major threat, Starr said, adding that there still may be isolated outages if the parts above ground are damaged.

Starr is more concerned with protecting the facility itself, since plant flooding and damage to outdoor machinery could create temporary problems, he said. But at least six additional employees will be on hand to operate the plant, along with what Starr estimated would be at least 20 or 30 extra people prepared to help with issues on campus.

Contractors, too, have been hired to be on hand for tasks such as pumping water from flooding buildings or removing trees, Starr said.

“All you can do is just operate the plant,” Starr said. “Our own generators will be running through this.”

Though Starr doubts there will be any major power interruption, a remote diesel generator is also available for operation to provide “life-safety” power, such as emergency egress lighting.

As for the students? Starr recommended all stay indoors, pay attention to the news and “just hang tight.”