After Irma, the Science of ‘Power Restoration’

Go Lean Commentary

The problem with hurricanes – and there are many – is that it takes a long time for the storm preparation and response (relief, recovery and rebuilding). On average, the storm’s preparation takes 3 days; this includes provisioning, installing protective shutters, hoarding water and gasoline. The response on the other hand can take days, weeks, months and dread-to-say, years.

The most uncomfortable part of the storm response is undeniable waiting for electrical power to be restored.

CU Blog - After Irma, the Science of Power Restoration - Photo 2

In general, the good-bad-ugly scale of memories of previous storms tend to be tied to the length of time it took for power to be restored. The peak of the hurricane season is the very hot months of August/September; there is the need for air-conditioning.

The Caribbean is in crisis now; our region has just been devastated by Hurricane Irma; it has wreaked catastrophic havoc in certain destinations: Barbuda, Saint BarthélemySaint MartinAnguilla, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Florida. Consider the encyclopedic details in Appendix A below and these questions:

  • How long did/will it take for power to be restored now after Hurricane Irma?
  • How can we reform and transform our Caribbean communities to ensure the efficiency of ‘Power Restoration’?

There is an art and science to the subject of ‘Power Restoration’; actually mostly science. The ‘art’ applies to the efficient deliveries of the management of the restoration process. The science considerations are extensive, starting with the entire eco-system of energy deliveries. As related in a previous blog-commentary

… no one doubts that the inventory of basic needs include “food, clothing and shelter”. But modernity has forced us to add another entry: “energy”. In fact, the availability and affordability of energy can impact the deliveries of these order basic needs.

… In our region, energy costs are among the highest in the world. The book Go Lean… Caribbean relates (Page 100) how the Caribbean has among the most expensive energy costs in the world, despite having abundant alternative energy natural resources (solar, wind, tidal, geo-thermal). The Caribbean eco-system focuses on imported petroleum to provide energy options and as a result retail electricity rates in the Caribbean average US$0.35/kWh, when instead it could be down to US$0.088/kWh. …

With such a 75% savings … there is definitely the need to adapt some of the scientific best practices for energy generation and consumption. In a previous blog-commentary, it was confessed that one of the reasons why people flee the Caribbean region, is the discomforts during the summer months … hot weather, and the lack of infrastructure to mitigate and remediate the discomfort, is identified as one of the reasons for the brain drain/societal abandonment.

One motivation of the movement behind the book Go Lean… Caribbean – available to download for free – is to facilitate a turn-around of economic, security and governing engines of the Caribbean region to do better with power generation, distribution and consumption. The Go Lean book serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). This Go Lean roadmap has 3 prime directives:

This commentary continues the 4-part series – this is 3 of 4 – on the Aftermath of Hurricane Irma. There are a lot of mitigation and remediation efforts that can be done to lessen the impact of this and future storms. There are lessons that we must consider; there are reforms we must make; there are problems we must solve. The full list of the 4 entries of this series are detailed as follows:

  1. Aftermath of Hurricane Irma – America Should Scrap the ‘Jones Act’
  2. Aftermath of Hurricane Irma – Barbuda Becomes a ‘Ghost Town’
  3. Aftermath of Hurricane Irma – The Science of Power Restoration
  4. Aftermath of Hurricane Irma – Failed State Indicators: Destruction and Defection

Despite the manifested threats of Climate Change-fueled hurricanes, we want to make the Caribbean homeland a better place to live, work and play. This is going to take some heavy-lifting to accomplish, but we can be successful. Yes, we can. This quest is detailed early on in the Go Lean book’s Declaration of Interdependence, as follows (Page 11 – 13):

i. Whereas the earth’s climate has undeniably changed resulting in more severe tropical weather storms, it is necessary to prepare to insure the safety and security of life, property and systems of commerce in our geographical region. As nature recognizes no borders in the target of its destruction, we also must set aside border considerations in the preparation and response to these weather challenges.

xi. Whereas all men are entitled to the benefits of good governance in a free society, “new guards” must be enacted to dissuade the emergence of incompetence, corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the peril of the people’s best interest. The Federation must guarantee the executions of a social contract between government and the governed.

xvi. Whereas security of our homeland is inextricably linked to prosperity of the homeland, the economic and security interest of the region needs to be aligned under the same governance. Since economic crimes … can imperil the functioning of the wheels of commerce for all the citizenry, the accedence of this Federation must equip the security apparatus with the tools and techniques for predictive and proactive interdictions.

xix. Whereas our legacy in recent times is one of societal abandonment, it is imperative that incentives and encouragement be put in place to first dissuade the human flight, and then entice and welcome the return of our Diaspora back to our shores. This repatriation should be effected with the appropriate guards so as not to imperil the lives and securities of the repatriated citizens or the communities they inhabit. The right of repatriation is to be extended to any natural born citizens despite any previous naturalization to foreign sovereignties.

The Go Lean book asserts that Caribbean stakeholders must find a Way Forward; they must institute better systems, processes and utilities to deliver electrical power (energy) despite the reality of hurricanes. Though power will go off – electricity and water is a bad combination – ‘Power Restoration’ must be a priority. Therefore Caribbean communities must adopt different community ethos, plus execute key – and different – strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to reform and transform.

This Way Forward must therefore fulfill these 2 requirements:

  • Flood Management and Control
    CU Blog - After Irma, the Science of Power Restoration - Photo 3
    According to a previous blog-commentary: “there is a thesis that flooding could be prevented. Yes, indeed! This is the experience and historicity of the Dutch people, the European country of the Netherlands or Holland.”
    Even in the low-lying American city of New Orleans, Louisiana there is the practice of pumping out excess water to mitigate and remediate flooding; see this depicted in the VIDEO in Appendix B below.
  • Implementation of a Caribbean Regional Power Grid
    CU Blog - After Irma, the Science of Power Restoration - Photo 1
    Power distribution is important for any mitigation-remediation plan. The problem with hurricane toppling trees and power lines is unavoidable – it is what it is – a better solution is to deliver electricity underground or underwater, as illustrated in the above photo. The Go Lean roadmap calls for an extensive smart Power Grid and a region-wide Utility Cooperative. This would allow for alternate power generation and electrical distribution. See sample of an underground/underwater “Power Cable” product depicted in the VIDEO in Appendix C below.

Many other communities have done a good job of optimizing their electrical utility grid. They execute strategies, tactics and implementations to mitigate the risk of power outages; then remediate any crises with technocratic deliveries to facilitate ‘Power Restoration’.

Go Green 1

There will be heavy-lifting for our Caribbean region to have this disposition. The Go Lean roadmap details that heavy-lift, describing the community ethos, strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to foster progress for Caribbean energy distribution, our own Regional Power Grid. The following list of entries in the Go Lean book highlights this theme:

Community Ethos – Lean Operations Page 24
Community Ethos – Return on Investments Page 24
Community Ethos – Cooperatives Page 25
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Future Page 26
Community Ethos – Ways to Improve Negotiations Page 32
Anecdote – Pipeline Transport – Strategies, Tactics & Implementations Page 43
Strategy – Harness the power of the sun/winds Page 46
Tactical – Fostering a Technocracy Page 82
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Energy Commission Page 82
Anecdote – “Lean” in Government – Energy Permits Page 93
Implementation – Regional Grid as Economies-of-Scale benefit Page 97
Anecdote – Caribbean Energy Grid Implementation Page 100
Implementation – Start-up Benefits from the EEZ Page 104
Implementation – Ways to Develop Pipeline Industry Page 107
Implementation – Ways to Improve Energy Usage Page 113
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Public Works Page 175
Advocacy – Ways to Foster Cooperatives Page 176
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Monopolies Page 202
Appendix – Underwater High Intensity Power Lines Page 282

The experience of enduring hurricanes is never pleasant. As such, we do not invite people to fly down from northern locations to pass storms with us. In fact, when there is a Hurricane Watch, the practice is to evacuate tourists and visitors. We evacuate our high-risk residents as well; (kidney dialysis patients, senior citizens, anyone that cannot endure the loss of electronic-based health instruments). This is a best-practice.

Why do we only evacuate just a limited group from the islands?

We assume that everyone else can endure.

Hah, lol …

But actually, with such high post-hurricane abandonment rates, as reported previously, it is obvious that everyone loses patience. So any improvement in the ‘Power Restoration’ experience would be a win-win; it would improve our communities’ endurance and make our Caribbean homeland better places to live, work and play. 🙂

Download the free e-Book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

Sign the petition to lean-in for this roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation.


Appendix A – Hurricane Irma Devastation

  • In Barbuda, Hurricane Irma caused catastrophic damage on the island; it damaged or destroyed 95% of the island’s buildings and infrastructure, leaving Barbuda “barely habitable” according to Prime Minister Gaston Browne. Everyone on the island was evacuated to Antigua, leaving Barbuda uninhabited for the first time in modern history.[3]
  • In St. Martin, on 6 and 7 September 2017 the island was hit by Hurricane Irma (Category 5 at landfall), which caused widespread and significant damage to buildings and infrastructure. A total of 11 deaths had been reported as of 8 September 2017.[12][13] France’s Minister of the InteriorGérard Collomb, said on 8 September 2017 that most of the schools were destroyed on the French half of the island. In addition to damage caused by high winds, there were reports of serious flood damage to businesses in the village of Marigot. Looting was also a serious problem. Both France and the Netherlands sent aid as well as additional police and emergency personnel to the island.[14][15][16] The Washington Post reported that 95% of the structures on the French side and 75% of the structures on the Dutch side were damaged or destroyed.[17][18] Some days after the storm had abated, a survey by the Dutch Red Cross estimated that nearly a third of the buildings in Sint Maarten had been destroyed and that over 90 percent of structures on the island had been damaged.[19] Princess Juliana Airport was extensively damaged but reopened on a partial basis in two days to allow incoming relief flights and for flights that would take evacuees to other islands.[20]
  • In Anguila, the eye of the storm pass over it on September 6. Many homes and schools were destroyed, and the island’s only hospital was badly damaged.[163] The devastation was particularly severe in East End, where the winds uprooted scores of trees and power poles and demolished a number of houses. … One death was reported on the island.[163] According to [sources], Anguilla’s economy could suffer at least $190 million in losses from the hurricane.[129]
  • Puerto Rico avoided a direct hit by the Category 5 Hurricane Irma on September 8, 2017, but high winds caused a loss of electrical power to some one million residents. Almost 50% of hospitals were operating with power provided by generators.[133]
  • Damage in the British Virgin Islands was extensive. Numerous buildings and roads were destroyed on the island of Tortola, which bore the brunt of the hurricane’s core.[172] Irma’s effects in the U.S. Virgin Islands were most profound on Saint Thomas. Due to its normal reliance on electricity from Saint Thomas, the island [of St. John] was left without power.
  • In the Florida Keys, the hurricane caused major damage to buildings, trailer parks, boats, roads, the electricity supply, mobile phone coverage, internet access, sanitation, the water supply and the fuel supply. … As of 6:41 p.m. EDT on September 10 over 2.6 million homes in Florida were without power.[232]

CU Blog - After Irma, Barbuda Becomes a 'Ghost Town' - Photo 2


Appendix B VIDEO – Here’s how the pumps in New Orleans move water out during heavy rainfall –

Published on Mar 30, 2017 – WDSU News: Pumps Work During Thursday’s Flooding


Appendix C VIDEO – ABB launches world´s most powerful extruded HVDC cable system –

Published on Aug 21, 2014

ABB Power Grids

525 kV voltage (previous highest installed 320 kV) sets world record more than doubling power flow to 2600 MW (from 1000 MW) and extending range to 1500 km for more cost effective, efficient and reliable underground and subsea transmission while keeping losses to below 5 percent. Major breakthrough for applications like underground HVDC transmission, sub-sea interconnections, offshore wind integration etc. More information:…


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