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Opportunity

Reliable, resilient and ready

In 2005, hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated homes, businesses and critical infrastructure in New Orleans. After the storm surge caused levees to breach, electric substations were flooded and the city lost power for several weeks. Throughout the disasters, Enwave’s district energy plant, engineered to unmatched reliability standards, maintained service to Louisiana’s largest health care and medical research center. As the only functioning facility with power and cooling, it also served as a hub for FEMA restoration workers.

Solution

Designed to withstand disaster

Louisiana State University subsequently commissioned Enwave to design, build and operate a future-proof system with the same level of reliability and redundancy to provide critical medical services through a disaster. The award-winning plant is designed to be failproof: built to withstand hurricane-force winds and a 20-foot storm surge, with all critical equipment located 20 feet above grade. It also features emergency backup generation and an innovative “ice battery” to store energy and ensure that cooling is always available.

Ice Storage case study

Results

Forward-thinking and future-proof

After hurricane Katrina, Enwave expanded its service beyond the medical district into New Orleans’ business core. Despite the fact that the system successfully withstood the hurricane, Enwave used its firsthand experience with the storm and its devastating aftermath to develop even more robust emergency planning and continuous improvements to its system’s performance. Today, the City of New Orleans is ready to meet the needs of its most critical facilities in the event of another natural disaster – a model of resilience for other cities worldwide.

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