Washington, D.C. -- A newly-launched energy resiliency program in Maryland will play a major role in ensuring that drivers in the state will have access to gasoline, diesel, propane and kerosene for transportation and generators during major disasters and power outages, said Allen Schaeffer, the Executive Director of the Diesel Technology Forum said today.
“Hurricane Sandy was the latest reminder of how power outages can shut down service station’s ability to provide fuel to residents and literally bring transportation systems to an immediate halt and render emergency generators powerless,” Schaeffer said. “The long lines of Sandy’s disaster victims in New Jersey and New York trying to get fuel from powerless service stations prompted concern in many communities to improve emergency preparedness for future disasters.
“Having emergency power for service stations along evacuation routes and for home energy use will be important for protecting lives during future events. Maryland’s Energy Administration (MEA) is taking a positive preemptive step with this new program to help service stations access emergency generators and prepare them for future natural disasters and outages,” he said.
MEA officially launched the service station resiliency grant program – “Fuel Up Maryland” – this month in Ocean City, MD. The $1.7 million dollar program will provide funding for service stations to pre-wire for backup power generation in the event of a major power outage. Grants will be awarded in the amount of up to $15,000 for portable back-up power generators, the installation of permanent or fixed back-up generation and/or batteries.
Schaeffer said the Diesel Technology Forum has taken an interest in “Fuel Up Maryland” because diesel-powered generators are one of the best options for service stations to assure business continuity, and because reliable electrical power is a major component of each state’s emergency preparedness and response programs.
“Superstorm Sandy illustrated the vulnerability of our electrical grid,” Schaeffer said. “It also highlighted how emergency responders, hospitals, local governments, data centers, businesses and homeowners could be adversely affected by the loss of electrical power - sometimes for days or weeks – due to the inability to access fuel for emergency generators and transportation.
“For the most part, public sector water and sewage treatment plants and critical 911- emergency communications and other mission-critical systems that require continuous power to protect public health and safety already deploy emergency back-up diesel generators. This new program in Maryland is a necessary step toward improving the state’s ability to improve transportation and power generation in the event of major natural or man-made disasters,” Schaeffer said.