Emergency Management Office
Vieques, puerto rico
The Emergency Management Office of Vieques (OMME) serves as the primary dispatch center, ambulance bay, emergency planning, operations and coordination center for the island of Vieques.
Since Hurricane Maria severed the undersea electrical cable connecting Vieques to Puerto Rico’s main grid, the island has faced significant energy vulnerability. For more than a year, three 2MW diesel generators burned an est. 8,000 gallons of diesel every day to meet the islands energy needs. The undersea electrical cable was finally repaired in early 2019, but residents still face significant electrical outages.
Footprint Project (FP) is working with local community partners in Vieques to plan, scope, and install a mobile solar nanogrid. In line with this objective, FP is committing to design and build an emergency command center with a resilient 5kW solar array and a 20kWh battery bank to power essential loads for a remote operations center for the Vieques Emergency Management Office (OMME), including radio dispatch, communications, refrigeration, and lighting. The command center, a containerized solar plus storage solution, will be located at the primary community emergency shelter in Vieques, the Maria M. Simmons De Rivera School, and serve as a semi-permanent resilience hub and functional office space for OMME’s nine staff in the case of emergency.
Key activities for this project include:
Partner Coordination: Bring implementing partners together for community needs assessments and strategy meetings.
Energy Load Survey: Collect power audits, map demand, and review data.
System Design: Select hybrid system to meet site energy loads with grid-tie capability for future integration.
Material Procurement: Source donated materials as available; procure additional equipment as needed from local solar entrepreneurs.
Installation: Contract local solar entrepreneurs to mount and install system.
Maintenance Training: Collaborate with high schools, colleges, and job-training organizations, to build local capacity for monitoring and maintenance.
Monitoring and Evaluation: Review program goals and outcomes with community members, report progress to donors.
The trailer is on it’s way to San Juan!
After discussing alternative site needs and system options with OMME, they have requested we pursue a towable system design that will allow their office to deliver resilient power flexibly on the island. Designs have been finalized and the trailer fabrication has commenced. We were hoping to find a fabricator in Puerto Rico capable of meeting the design needs and deadline, but were unsuccessful. We are looking at local fabrication options for future trailers.
We received notice from local partners in Vieques that the Red Cross has begun installing a solar battery system on the Maria Simons Elementary School. We are re-evaluating program plans to avoid duplicating efforts.
OMME’s Director and the Principal of Maria M. Simons Elementary School have agreed to place FP’s nanogrid next to the school’s kitchen. The Simons Elementary school is the sole designated shelter for the island of Vieques, and the nanogrid will be used in a dual capacity: 1) Office space for emergency response coordination for OMME; 2) Back-up resilient power for the school kitchen. The new site load requirements have changed the cost of the system build.
Jan 2019 - Community Solar Recovery Workshop
On January 16, 2019, community members, response officials and students gathered at the historic El Fortin in Vieques to discuss ways to integrate solar nanogrids into disaster recovery. Organized by Footprint, the workshop brought together representatives from local direct service organizations, government, international NGOs and universities to explore resilient power solutions for emergency preparedness and response. Community members provided input on initial nanogrid designs, location plans and deployment strategy.
FP learned from local partners that the City Council has decided to move OMME to a new building. Through discussion s with OMME’s Director, Hector Olivieri, FP has expanded the project’s scope to explore alternative nanogrid systems that can both meet disaster preparedness needs and accommodate future location changes. This project provides an opportunity to develop creative energy solutions that can flexibly serve future response and recovery operations.