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February 06, 2017   |   Diesel Technology Forum

Policy Insider

Diesel vs. Winter

As the country braces for six more weeks of winter, it’s reassuring to know that emergency diesel equipment and generators can be relied upon to keep our nation functioning – from our hospitals and police stations, to our highways and communications systems.


According to the groundhog, we have six more weeks of winter ahead of us. That could mean even more winter weather for some areas of the country that have already seen more than enough. California, Nevada and Colorado have had to close ski resorts for TOO much snow! During these major weather events, diesel power plays a critical role in snow removal and recovery as well as protecting public health and safety during national weather emergencies.

From the fleet of trucks and massive diesel snow plows that will extract the snow from roadways and the tallest drifts, to diesel-powered salt spreaders, road graders and wheel loaders that are working overtime to clear roadways and put down chemical treatments to keep roads safe and from freezing, diesel is hard at work keeping the roads clear to keep critical services in operation during light snows and blizzard conditions.

When primary power supply systems fail during winter storms or other natural disasters, clean diesel generators provide reliable, immediate and full strength electric power. State and local governments bear the brunt of these kinds of major weather events, and are expected to assure the continuity of essential services in the most challenging of conditions. With a deluge of snow and rain, local governments need to make sure that public safety systems are operational, from the 911 emergency call centers to drinking water treatment and sewer systems.

Because of its unique combination of power, performance, reliability and availability, no other technology or fuel can meet the full range of needs in responding to national weather emergencies. Local, state and federal governments, emergency responders and businesses depend on some of the most powerful and reliable and proven technology available today – diesel power – to play a major role in protecting public health and safety.

Vital services must remain fully functional under all weather conditions, including power outages. Diesel-powered pumping systems - both portable and fixed - are in place in thousands of cities throughout the country to prevent flooding, and to keep drinking water treatment systems providing safe drinking water when the electrical power goes out.

Standby power is critical at hospitals, blood banks, nursing homes and other health care facilities. Hospitals need to have reliable and self-contained power systems in the event of loss of grid power from ice accumulation or downed electrical wires.

Emergency responders - fire and rescue units – rely primarily on diesel power for their response apparatus, ambulances and for powering their emergency communication systems.

Communications plays a vital role in our world today, especially with the reliance on cellular and smartphone technology. Text messages, tweets, emails and calls still flow through a system that requires reliable and uninterrupted electrical power. Diesel-powered generators play an essential role in the internet and this increasingly connected world. Computer ‘server farms’ handle huge volumes of data for essential financial services, ATM networks and national commerce and trading centers. Even momentary losses of grid power can result not only in inconveniences, but damaging losses of business revenue, the inability to access bank funds, and lost worker productivity.

At the nation’s busiest airports, diesel power is working to keep travelers safe both in the air and on the ground. Radar and telecommunications systems have their own backup power systems and the majority depends on diesel emergency generators to restore critical electrical power during storm-related power interruptions.

As the country braces for six more weeks of winter, it’s reassuring to know that emergency diesel equipment and generators can be relied upon to keep our nation functioning – from our hospitals and police stations, to our highways and communications systems.

 

 



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Ezra Finkin
Director, Policy
efinkin@dieselforum.org
301-668-7230

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