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Your Restaurant in Brooklyn: Giving Thanks

We’re back to your restaurant in Brooklyn for another week. But, this isn’t a week like all the others. This week, at least for all of us in the United States, is Thanksgiving. For me, it’s always a good time to reflect on what we have to be thankful for. Let’s do that for your restaurant.

You’ve managed to open a restaurant in Brooklyn. That’s definitely something for which to be thankful. You even overcame some initial problems with your restaurant’s access to reliable electricity. You had a generator installed to provide you electricity when the electrical grid wasn’t working.  And, you’ve undertaken installing a PV system and a micro-grid to alleviate some of the problems of the generator – noise, smell, and access to fuel. And, it makes you feel better about the environment since you’re doing that.

Your restaurant also made it through Hurricane Sandy. Not only did your restaurant survive, but because of your generator you were able to provide those hard working electrical lineman with a hot cup of coffee as they were trying to restore electricity to your neighbors.  That’s the one of which you’re particularly proud.

It’s all fine and dandy to be thankful for what’s happening a in a fictitious restaurant, but I’d like you to think about what you have to be thankful for: For me, there’s plenty to be thankful for. One of the projects I’m working on is designing a PV system and a micro-grid for a restaurant very similar to your restaurant that we’ve been talking through over the last few weeks. I get to use my knowledge and my skills to really make an impact on someone’s livelihood in Nigeria. And, I get to share the entire experience with all of you.

Along the same lines, I’ve become very appreciative of some of the things we take for granted in the United States. I recently had a chance to visit your restaurant in Lagos, Nigeria.  (Stay tuned.  One of the upcoming articles will cover my experiences while I was there. It was an incredible experience, and much different than what we have here.)  Let’s just take the entire problem we’re trying to solve here – the fact that reliable electricity is a privilege in most part of the world, not a given.  (A recent article by the MIT Tech Review estimates that 1 billion people are without access to electricity. I covered this issue along with a potential micro-grid solution in a recent article as well).

So, here’s what I’m thankful for as I write this article:

Look closely – You may have missed the important part amongst the mountains, the lake and the trees. Here’s a little closer look (with a big circle around it) of what I’m thankful for:

It’s a high voltage electrical line. It’s responsible for making sure that my family and I can have lights and heat (and watch some football!) while we enjoy this Thanksgiving together.  Wishing you all my best to you and your family this Thanksgiving holiday. Remember what you’re thankful for, and be ready to tackle the next part of the restaurant project next week.

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