A floating power plant that could provide vital backup energy in the event of a power outage or natural disaster may soon be coming to the Hudson River (if it can get funded that is). Submitted as a proposal for New York City’s Energy Highway call for ideas, the “portable” power plant would produce 79 megawatts of power fueled by natural gas, and would be equipped to provide immediate power to critical structures like hospitals during blackouts like the one we experienced during Hurricane Sandy. What makes this floating vessel even more unique lies in its hull, which can hold up to a three-day fuel supply, eliminating the tedious (and impossible, if roads aren’t clear during a natural disaster) task of refueling every 6 to 8 hours.
If it comes to fruition, the plant would be stationed in the Wallabout Channel next to the Brooklyn Navy Yard. According to SEF Industries—the New York City development company behind the proposal—the project can be realized in as little as 18 months. The company outlines the key benefits of the floating power plant in their proposal, including the expanded diversity of power generation supply in New York City and the creation of 1,200 short-term and 20 permanent construction and operating jobs.
Additionally, the company assures that: “long-term reliability of the electric system is maintained in the face of major system uncertainties by providing a unique means of indefinitely meeting the full power requirements of designated hospitals or other critical infrastructure should a natural disaster, terrorist attack, mechanical failure, or human error result in a catastrophic power loss within New York City.”
Four critical load locations have been identified to receive power directly from the floating power plant in the event of an emergency. They include: NYU Medical Center, Veterans Administration Hospital, Bellevue Hospital Center and the Financial District.