Microturbines Provide Resiliency and Refuge After Ontario Lightning Strike Forced 60 Households to Evacuate into the Tillsonburg Community Centre

Microturbines Provide Resiliency and Refuge After Ontario Lightning Strike Forced 60 Households to Evacuate into the Tillsonburg Community Centre

VAN NUYS, CA / ACCESSWIRE / August 29, 2019 / Capstone Turbine Corporation (www.capstoneturbine.com) (NASDAQ:CPST), the world’s leading clean technology manufacturer of microturbine energy systems, announced today that a lightning strike and associated gas leak forced the evacuation of approximately 60 households in a residential community of Tillsonburg, Ontario on Sunday, August 18th. Many of the residents were relocated into the Tillsonburg Community Centre which is powered by a Capstone microturbine combined heat and power (“CHP”) system installed by Vergent Power Solutions, Inc. (www.vergentpower.com), Capstone’s exclusive distributor for the Upper Midwest, New England and Eastern Canada.

According to the Woodstock Sentinel-Review, an Enbridge Gas spokesperson said that 125 homes were without gas while the repairs were completed. According to Enbridge, lightning struck a tree, traveling down through a root and damaged the natural gas pipeline. Emergency crews responded around 3 a.m. to a report of a lightning strike. Ontario Provincial Police (“OPP”) said the lightning ruptured the gas line, releasing a large amount of natural gas into several homes and underground sewer lines. Those forced to leave their homes were moved to the Tillsonburg Community Centre, the OPP confirmed.

Fortunately for the local residents, the Tillsonburg Community Centre (“TCC”), is powered by a Capstone microturbine CHP system that kept the facility’s electricity and hot water functioning despite the widespread power outage in the local area. The TCC was able to serve as a place of refuge for the small town.

According to OPP representatives, while there was some hesitation for people to leave their homes so early in the morning, the memory of a recent natural gas explosion in London’s Old East Village neighborhood was still fresh, so a lot of people moved quickly. The gas was shut off to a large area because of the potential for gas explosions. Thankfully, the gas leak was quickly remedied, and the community members were able to return home from the TCC.

“We are very proud that a Capstone CHP facility was the so-called port in the storm for so many residents of Tillsonburg,” stated Darren Jamison, Capstone’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “Utility power outages are becoming more commonplace as evidenced by recent wide-scale blackouts in New York and London and are becoming very commonplace in Capstone’s home state of California as we lead the country in power outages,” added Mr. Jamison.

According to the Eaton Blackout Tracker in 2017, 438 separate outage events caused by weather, falling trees, faulty equipment, human error, and others causes resulted in more than 25,000 minutes or 17 days of outages across California. The number of outages has been steadily increasing for the past decade and look to only continue as Pacific Gas & Electric instituted its first Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) program by cutting power to approximately 22,700 customers in two events across five California counties, as wind speeds were forecast to accelerate.

“The shutoffs are designed as a proactive measure in times when there is a high risk of sparking a wildfire but can be very disruptive to utility customers and local business. The state regulators approved utility mitigation plans, including PSPS guidelines, several months ago,” added Mr. Jamison.

California is far from an outlier when it comes to power disruptions. Nationwide, there were more than 3,500 power outages in 2017, triggered by a surge in tornadoes, hurricanes, fires, floods, and other weather events. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the duration of utility outages doubled between 2016 and 2017, again as a result of an increase in extreme weather events. The total cost to the American economy for the 2017 blackouts was estimated $150 billion.

“Today customers are not only looking to save money on energy costs and reduce carbon emissions with Capstone’s microturbine products, but resiliency solutions like the one at the Tillsonburg Community Centre are increasingly gaining momentum,” said Jim Crouse, Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “The reliability of Capstone clean energy products, in some of the most remote and harsh environments in the world, makes Capstone a preferred solution for providing resiliency,” concluded Mr. Crouse.


SOURCE: Capstone Turbine Corporation