With its palm-lined streets, white sand beaches and exotic nightlife, Miami is one of the world’s most popular vacation destinations. Supermodels and celebrities frequent the trendy clubs of South Beach. Sleek powerboats glide through the teal waters of Biscayne Bay. Luxurious high-rise condos sparkle in the Florida sun. But behind all the glitz and glamour, you’ll find that it takes a lot of heavy-duty machinery - and MTU power - to make the good life possible.
Miami became a major metropolitan city in less than a century. A railroad into an old Indian trading post gave the city early momentum. The city was officially incorporated in 1896, with about 300 residents. Miami Beach became a sudden hotspot in the 1920s. In 1940, Miami was booming with nearly 200,000 residents. The city grew even more once Fidel Castro came to power in Cuba in 1959. His communist regime prompted hundreds of thousands of Cubans to flee to Miami. The influx of Cuban refugees had a great impact on the city’s personality, which has a vibrant mix of cultural influences. In the 1960s, over 500,000 Cuban-Americans settled in an area called Little Havana. Today, immigrants from all of Latin America and the Caribbean live in Miami, and the majority of residents speak Spanish at home. Miami is truly a melting pot, an energetic blend of sights, sounds and flavors from all over the world. The city experienced growing pains through the 1980s and '90s, which included riots and Hurricane Andrew. However, Miami continued to prosper, becoming a major U.S. hub for business culture and entertainment. In only 110 years, the city’s population has increased to more than five million. Miami’s rapid growth has led to its nickname, “The Magic City.” Visitors who returned to Miami every winter would be amazed how much the city had grown year to year, saying it was like “magic.”
Reaching new heights
Since 2001, Miami’s skyline has undergone a huge transformation. Giant construction cranes, many powered by MTU diesel engines, are constantly in motion, creating towering new additions to the city’s downtown area. More than 50 new skyscrapers rising over 120m (400 feet) have been built or are currently under construction. The city has the eight tallest skyscrapers in the state of Florida, including Seasons Hotel & Tower. In the United States, only New York City and Chicago have a more towering
Downtown Miami is home to the largest concentration of international banks in the
United States, along with many large national and international companies. With all of Miami’s commercial and residential growth comes the need for additional infrastructure, such as hospitals, municipal buildings and water treatment plants. All of these facilities need emergency backup power. And that’s where MTU Onsite Energy comes in.
Powering the Sunshine State
Florida Detroit-Diesel Allison (FDDA) is the authorized distributor for MTU Onsite Energy power generators and MTU engines in the state of Florida. FDDA has over 200 employees and nine branches, including one in Miami. In 2013, FDDA was acquired by one of the largest MTU distributors in the nation, Stewart & Stevenson. With the added support, FDDA can handle just about anything that comes its way. This includes products, parts and service for generators ranging from 30kW to 3,250kW. Miami’s tropical climate presents a critical need for emergency backup power. The city is located near the southern tip of Florida, the Sunshine State. The summers are hot and humid. Air conditioners hum most of the year. If a power outage lasts too long, building temperatures can quickly become sweltering. At medical centers, a power interruption also puts human lives in jeopardy. For airports and data centers, the ramifications of a power outage can also be disastrous.
During Florida’s hurricane season, violent thunderstorms and utility power outages are
common. The season officially runs from June 1 through November 30, although hurricanes can develop beyond those dates. Headquartered in Miami, the National Hurricane Center keeps an eye out for tropical storms in the United States. On average, two major hurricanes strike the United States every three years.
Shelter from the storm
In 1992, Hurricane Andrew struck Florida and devastated Miami with winds of over 155 miles per hour. The estimated damage was $26.5 billion. This was the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history until Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf region in 2005. Since Hurricane Andrew, construction standards have changed considerably. Facilities must endure the heavy winds, flooding and catastrophic damage commonly associated with severe storm systems, including major hurricanes. And generator sets
must meet strict Florida building codes. In Miami, leasing prices are at a premium. This means many developers save interior space by placing the building’s generator set outdoors, where it is susceptible to the area’s tropical storms. “Florida building code is very tough when it comes to generator requirements,” says Len Hernandez, manager, generator sales at FDDA.
“Enclosures have to be hurricane-rated. There are also high velocity hurricane zones where generator sets have special dome enclosures to withstand those high winds.”
MTU Onsite Energy has increased the strength of the standard enclosures used in South Florida from 150 mph to 190 mph windload following recent changes of Florida Building Code. Power generators in the Florida Keys, located just south of Miami, feature custom enclosures built to withstand 200 mph winds. A storm that size
would be catastrophic. Sustained winds above 157 mph are considered Category 5 hurricanes - the highest hurricane classification that exists.
To withstand prolonged power outages, generator sets in Florida often feature huge fuel tanks. “In other states, emergency generator sets only need several hours of fuel for backup power. That’s a relatively small fuel tank. In Florida, most buildings need backup power that can last up to seven days,” says Hernandez. “For a 1,000 kW
generator, you can have a 10,000 gallon tank. That’s another reason why gensets in Miami are located on the ground. It’s very different than the rooftop generators you’d find in New York City.”
Every building needs a backup plan
With 30 years of power generation expertise, FDDA supplies MTU Onsite Energy generator sets to numerous buildings all over Miami. Generators range from the traditional standby generator sets found in high-rise condominiums, universities and municipal public works to robust uninterruptible power supplies required by data centers, hospitals, airports and federal facilities.
Wherever there’s a need for reliable standby power, you’ll find MTU Onsite Energy. FDDA has provided six MTU Onsite Energy generator sets to Miami International Airport. As one of the busiest international airports in the world, the airport welcomes more than 40 million passengers a year. The airport is the United States' secondlargest international port of entry for foreign air passengers behind only New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport.
Terremark Worldwide, a subsidiary of Verizon Communications, also depends on MTU Onsite Energy generator sets for critical backup power in its six-story building, one of the world’s largest data centers. An MTU Onsite Energy generator set can also be found at American Airlines Arena, the home of the NBA’s Miami Heat. Other notable installations include Pérez Art Museum Miami, City of Miami Gardens City Hall, Leon Medical Center and Hialeah Park Flamingo Casino.
“Our customers have been happy with our products and service. A big selling point is our 85 percent average load factor, which is the best in the business. Other companies are at 70%,” says Hernandez. For FDDA customers large and small,
it’s all about peace of mind that comes from reliable gensets backed by an experienced MTU distributor. “We’re an insurance policy. That’s basically what we sell,” says Hernandez.
In the marina located in the shadows of American Airlines Arena, you’ll find rows of luxury yachts gleaming in the sun. Here the legend of MTU also lives on—in the form of powerful marine engines. In Miami, boating is a passion. MTU engines are highly regarded in shipyards, as well as among owners and crew. MTU powers luxury vessels of all sizes, including 400-foot megayachts. Sportfishing yachts also use MTU engines, racing to prime fishing grounds for swordfish and marlin, located many miles offshore.
The area’s love for boating is on full display at the Miami International Boat Show. Florida’s largest boating event features more than 3,000 boats and exhibitors from all over the globe. At the recent 2015 show, MTU showcased several innovations for the pleasure craft market, including the recently unveiled MTU Series 2000 M96 pleasure craft engine, a newly available Joystick System and Premium Yacht Service, a global, 24/7 support offering provided under the MTU ValueCare brand.
Not all MTU marine engines are built for the sheer pleasure of Miami’s billionaires. They also power commercial vessels that haul tons of cargo in one of the largest and busiest ports in the United States. The Port of Miami imports more than 7 million tons of cargo a year. Tugboats use MTU engines to push giant freighters into port.
Patrolling Miami’s coastline
Whether at work or at play, marine vessels will inevitably encounter rough seas. When trouble arises, the U.S. Coast Guard is ready to come to the rescue. MTU is the largest supplier of propulsion engines and systems to the Coast Guard. At the Coast Guard’s base station at Miami Beach, MTU engines power a fleet that includes motor lifeboats, coastal patrol boats, national security cutters and fast response cutters.
In April 2012, the Coast Guard commissioned its first fast response cutter (FRC) in Miami, Florida. FRC missions include search and rescue, coastal security, fishery patrols, drug and illegal migrant law enforcement and national defense. Powered
by two MTU 20V 4000 diesel engines, the 154-foot FRC can achieve speeds of up to 28 knots. Each engine produces 5,095 horsepower—a high output relative to the engine’s compact size.
The FRC patrols many nautical miles around Miami, including the Florida Keys, Bahamas and soon, Puerto Rico. According to Cesar Sordo, manager, government service support at FDDA, the FRC is extremely well equipped to execute its missions. “The FRC is the thoroughbred of the Coast Guard fleet,” he says. “It’s very fast for its size and handles heavy seas very well. The cutters have already made an impact on the drug traffic.”
Just like the Coast Guard, FDDA is always on call in South Florida. Engine support, parts and service are readily available — wherever and whenever they’re needed. “We go above and beyond quite often,” Sordo says. “We’ve provided service at customers’ private homes, the Coast Guard base and at our Miami River facility. We’ve also made repairs to auxiliary engines on research vessels and fishing ships while the vessels were at sea.”
The city of Miami is constantly in motion. Every day, the city pulses with life. Whether it’s under Florida’s trademark sunny skies, or when the sky darkens from a looming tropical storm, MTU and MTU Onsite Energy are always there.
The content of the stories reflects the status as of the respective date of publication. They are not updated. Further developments are therefore not taken into account.