FEMA deploying backup diesel assets to protect public health and safety
February 18, 2021 (WASHINGTON, DC) – In response to the unprecedented winter storm and cold weather engulfing Texas and the resulting shortages of electricity and rolling blackouts plaguing the state, , according to the Diesel Technology Forum.
“Our thoughts go out to all Texans suffering through this event. President Biden in his disaster declaration has activated the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) which announced today that it has supplied generators to Texas and is preparing to move diesel fuel into the state to ensure the continued availability of backup power, key to protecting critical infrastructure such as communications, hospitals, and drinking and wastewater treatment systems,” said Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum, a not-for-profit association representing manufacturers of diesel engines and equipment, key suppliers of emissions control and other technologies and fuel producers.
“We also take this opportunity to remind everyone of proper generator safety - never operate a generator indoors, ensure that exhaust is directed away from doors and windows, exercise safety when refueling and follow manufacturers’ directions for ensuring acceptable loads of devices and appliances. Though diesel powered generators have less concern with flammability and carbon monoxide emissions than do gasoline or propane units, it is prudent to exercise the same kind of precautions and safety measures.
“During these unprecedented extreme weather conditions, we see again the importance of diesel technology – proven, available and reliable – to key sectors of Texas’ economy and particularly the government’s ability to respond to crisis situations and protect and ensure public health and safety.
“Much has been said about the cause of these power outages and failures, and it is clear that both conventional and renewable sources together were not able to meet the power demands during these unprecedented weather conditions. There will be plenty of investigation and responsibility to go around, but the immediate focus must be on protecting public health and safety.
“Meanwhile, facility owners operating diesel backup generators should follow recommended use and maintenance of equipment and work with fuel providers to ensure continued and uninterrupted power during this prolonged outage. Other facility owners may have proper electrical switchgear to accept a mobile diesel generator and should work with generator dealers to learn of mobile generator availability.
“When events like this strike, resilience of our infrastructure systems – water, electricity and communications – is increasingly in focus, and it is clear that a diversity of power fuel and technology solutions be available, both renewable and conventional sources. Diesel technology is uniquely capable of using both renewable biofuels and conventional petroleum fuels, making it a flexible and ready solution.
“Today’s new generation of diesel emergency backup generators provides safe, reliable, proven and portable power where it is needed, when it is needed and for however long it is needed. For industrial or institutional customers with existing backup units, running those units and disconnecting from the grid frees up important electrical capacity for others.
“Engine and equipment dealers throughout Texas and the Southwest are working to aide governments and their customers to respond to this crisis by servicing and ensuring uptime of critical power generating units, water pumps, commercial snow removal equipment, fire and rescue vehicles and other machines and equipment.
“According to Texas DOT, 700 snowplows and 200 motor graders are deployed to keep roads passable; all or nearly all of these are powered by diesel. These are supported by a range of diesel-powered material handling equipment like wheel loaders for loading deicing and anti-skid materials onto highway trucks, and other smaller backhoes and skid-steer loaders frequently used to clear parking lots.
“Diesel power plays a critical role in protecting public health and safety during critical weather events. 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.
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About the Diesel Technology Forum
The Diesel Technology Forum is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of diesel engines, fuel, and technology. Members of the Diesel Technology Forum are the leaders in advanced technology engines, vehicles, fuels, and equipment, both diesel and a range of alternative fuels, including electrification, hydrogen, natural gas, and others. For more information visit https://www.dieselforum.org/.
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