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Update: Stanford cancels classes through Friday due to power outage

Original post made on Jun 24, 2022

A power failure caused by damage to transmission equipment from the Edgewood Fire in San Mateo County has caused Stanford University to cancel classes through Friday, according to the university.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, June 22, 2022, 9:45 AM

Comments (1)

Posted by wmconlon
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 24, 2022 at 2:21 am

wmconlon is a registered user.

This story highlights the risks of relying on remote resources for essential services. Although the power outage was due to fire, it could just as easily have resulted from earthquake, terrorism, storms or mechanical failure.

Of course the outage was amplified by Stanford's arrogance and folly in closing its Cardinal Cogen facility in order to reduce the on-campus carbon footprint. Like with City of Palo Alto Utilities, Stanford uses carbon neutrality i.e., procuring sufficient solar energy to cover its annual needs, to avoid the much harder problem of carbon-free, and exports its carbon to other communities. Like Palo Alto, with its single point of failure at the Colorado Avenue substation, Stanford placed essential reliability at risk by not providing local generation.

Both Palo Alto and Stanford could mitigate some of the risk by a short interconnection to permit each entity to be served by geographically diverse transmission lines. Palo Alto would rather spend the money on Fiber to the Home than address pressing reliability issues. Perhaps Stanford and CPAU could consider a cost-sharing arrangement to provide redundancy.

But if I were king, I would install a compact gas turbine power plant for just such an emergency, and try to snag some of Newsom's $5 billion for reliability. A good location would be the Fry's parking lot with easy access to the Park Boulevard substation and high pressure gas supply.

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