State and local officials for Connecticut announced today that nine microgrid projects in Bridgeport, Fairfield, Groton, Hartford, Middletown, Storrs, Windham, and Woodbridge have been awarded a total of $18 million in funding primarily through the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Microgrid Pilot Program. The program is designed to develop innovative ways to keep critical buildings powered during electric grid outages.
“Microgrids play a major role in our efforts to modernize and harden our infrastructure to withstand severe weather,” said Governor Malloy. “These projects will help protect residents and vital public services even when the power goes out, and in doing so allow us to provide critical services during times of emergency. Over the next two years, I’ve recommended an additional $30 million in funding for the state’s microgrid program to strengthen more Connecticut communities.”
Passed under Governor Malloy’s storm bill (Public Act 12-148), the Microgrid Pilot Program will increase safety and quality of life for Connecticut residents during power outages. Microgrids will provide electricity to critical facilities and town centers on a 24/7 basis and will include an isolation system so the microgrid can provide power despite any large-scale outages.
The projects will provide power for government services and businesses that are critical during extreme weather events such as police, fire, and emergency response teams, hospitals and health care facilities, state and town emergency response centers, grocery stores, and gas stations.
The nine projects receiving funding are:
Bridgeport: City hall, police station, and senior center—$2.97 million for three 600 kW natural gas microturbines.
“I’d like to applaud Governor Malloy for taking this bold step to initiate the Microgrid Pilot Program,” said Mayor Bill Finch. “This microgrid project will work to prevent critical infrastructure –City Hall, Police Headquarters and our Senior Center from going offline during major weather events, which as a result of climate change, are occurring more frequently. This is another innovative step taken by Governor Malloy to make Connecticut a leader in energy policy. Most recently, the Governor and I celebrated the groundbreaking of the largest fuel cell project in North America, which will be located in Bridgeport.”
Fairfield: Town of Fairfield police station, emergency operations center, cell tower, fire headquarters, public shelter—$1.16 million for 50 kW natural gas reciprocating engine, 250 kW natural gas reciprocating engine, 47 kW PV solar.
“I am very grateful that our community is receiving this critical funding since it is crucial to keep our public and infrastructure safe,” said First Selectman Michael C. Tetreau. “The Fairfield Public Safety Microgrid project will ensure that our police station, fire department headquarters, and the homeless shelter at Operation Hope will always have 100 percent of their electric needs provided in any disaster.”
Groton: Naval Submarine Base—$3 million for 5 MW cogeneration turbine, 1.5 MW diesel. Since the base is a federal entity, this funding comes through the State Department of Economic and Community Development and not through DEEP.
Hartford: the University of Hartford campus and St. Francis Hospital—$2.27 million for two 1.9 MW diesel (existing), 250 kW diesel, 150 kW diesel. Hartford is also receiving a grant for the Parkville Cluster school, senior center, library, supermarket, gas station—$2.06 million for 600 kW natural gas turbine.
“The concentration of development and the existence of mass transit make cities the most energy efficient places,” said Hartford Mayor Pedro E. Segarra. “This grant will enable us to become even more sustainable as we generate energy for a variety of city properties and other uses in the Parkville neighborhood. I want to thank the Governor for his commitment to keep energy costs down for cities and towns in Connecticut. This is the first of what we hope will be an ever expanding alternative energy source in Hartford.”
Middletown: Wesleyan University campus and athletic center (public shelter)—$694,000 for 2.4 MW and 676 kW Natural Gas Combined Heat and Power Reciprocating Engine.
"This is a great opportunity for Middletown and Wesleyan to partner to increase public safety and create an independent grid on which we can rely during major storms," said Mayor Daniel Drew.
Storrs: University of Connecticut Depot Campus—$2.14 million for 400 kW fuel cell, 6.6 kW PV solar.
“The Town of Mansfield is pleased that the Governor has endorsed the University of Connecticut’s proposal to develop a microgrid that would integrate distributed energy generation and mission critical facilities at the Depot Campus at Storrs,” said Town Manager Matthew Hart. “The Depot Campus microgrid will enhance the University and the Town of Mansfield’s capacity to provide reliable power during times of electricity grid outages and to support restoration efforts and the provision of essential public services to UConn, the residents of Mansfield and the surrounding area. We appreciate the state’s leadership on this important emergency management initiative.”
“This project will enhance UConn’s preparedness and ability to serve the community in storm-related emergencies,” said UConn President Susan Herbst. “It will also help UConn serve as a resource for others on how to create resilient, reliable and environmentally sustainable microgrids. We’re grateful for the state’s support and look forward sharing what we learn through this innovative project.”
Windham: Two schools—$639,950 for two 130 kW natural gas, 250 kW solar, 200 kWh battery; two kW diesel.
“We are very pleased that Governor Malloy recognizes the importance of having a microgrid in the Town of Windham,” said Mayor Ernest Eldridge. “It is critical that people have a secure place to go during severe weather, and this funding will go a long way to keeping residents safe.”
Woodbridge: Police station, fire station, Department of Public Works, town hall, high school—$3 million for 1.6 MW natural gas turbine, 400 kW fuel cell.
“This is very exciting news for Woodbridge,” said First Selectman Ellen Scalettar. “All of our residents will be the beneficiaries of this new, cutting edge technology. Distributed generation will provide reliable energy during emergencies for our critical facilities, including the Police Department, the Senior Center and Amity High School.”
These projects were among 36 originally submitted in response to a request for microgrid concepts. DEEP, in coordination with an expert technical consultant and the state’s two major electric utilities, conducted a feasibility analysis and in February, 27 of the 36 submitted projects moved on to a final round of assessment. Projects not funded in this round are encouraged to participate in future rounds of funding.
Projects are funded with $18 million recommended by Governor Malloy and authorized by the General Assembly in 2012 for the pilot program. It requires State Bond Commission authorization, which is expected this fall.