Located in the heart of Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay region, Dorchester County has more than 1,200 miles of shoreline. From commercial fishing to the tourism industry, water impacts the community in many ways. But, Dorchester County’s low elevation makes it vulnerable to sea level rise and storm surge. In 2003, Hurricane Isabel hit the area hard. Hundreds of houses were damaged by the storm and flooding.
In case of natural disaster, Cambridge-South Dorchester High School serves as Dorchester County’s primary emergency shelter. Recently allocated state funding made a major upgrade possible—a new emergency backup power system. Following a competitive bid, the project’s electrical contractor recommended an MTU Onsite Energy generator set.
The name you can trust
For Dorchester County Manager Jeremy Goldman, MTU Onsite Energy was the perfect choice. “We did the research and the engine ratings were very good. Reliability was key and their reputation for quality is outstanding,” Goldman said. “I was aware of the name since MTU engines power many luxury yachts in our area. If it was good enough for high-end boat owners, why wouldn’t we choose them, too?”
?Curtis Engine, an authorized provider of MTU Onsite Energy power solutions, supplied the system. An MTU Onsite Energy 18V 2000 backup power system was customized to the site’s specifications, with an enclosure that can withstand high velocity winds and flooding. Based on MTU’s 18-cylinder Series 2000 engine, the diesel-powered generator set can provide up to 1,250 kW of power. With 10,000 gallons of diesel fuel standing by in two fuel tanks, the unit is more than ready for prolonged power outages.
A bump in the road
While Dorchester County’s new genset is rated to withstand extreme conditions, it is no match for a head-on collision with a low overpass at highway speeds. On its way to Dorchester, the unit was severely damaged when the delivery truck hit an overpass. The exhaust system and turbochargers tore off and the enclosure was ripped to shreds. “In 40 years of business, that was a first for Curtis Engines,” said Goldman. “But they really stepped up and addressed the issues in a professional manner. Their customer service was great.”
Fortunately, it wasn’t the end of the road for the unit. After a complete rebuild and thorough testing by Curtis Engines, the 18V 2000 was as good as new. The next truck delivery went smoothly and as planned—safely following a lead truck, with the unit’s exhaust system lowered.
Providing a safe haven
The installation is complete at Cambridge-South Dorchester High School and the MTU Onsite Energy 18V 2000 is ready for the upcoming hurricane season. Previously, the high school’s small generator provided emergency lighting only. Now, the entire facility can be fully powered for 10-12 days. Refueling can keep it going indefinitely.
?An emergency shelter with full power not only provides added comfort, it can also save lives. The facility’s climate control systems and commercial kitchen are now fully operational at all times. Reliable power is also critical to people with health conditions such as diabetes, respiratory diseases and those who require electricity to keep medical devices running or medications in a cool place.
“If we have a major disaster, MTU Onsite Energy’s backup power system provides us with services that simply did not exist before,” said Goldman. “This means that no matter who you are, or no matter where you are in the county, there’s a place you can go with a roof over your head, with heating in the winter and cooling in the summer, along with food and hot water. That’s a big deal.”