Four Hospital Microgrid Projects Get Nod from New Jersey Energy Resilience Bank

March 17, 2017
One hospital microgrid recently closed on funds from the New Jersey Energy Resilience Bank and three others won preliminary approval this week.

One hospital microgrid recently closed on funds from the New Jersey Energy Resilience Bank and three others won preliminary approval this week.

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority took action on the projects, as part of a post-Superstorm Sandy effort to disburse $200 million from New Jersey’s second Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery allocation.

The money is going toward installation of islandable, combined heat and power (CHP) systems.

Melissa Orsen, EDA CEO, said that board action “will help ensure that these hospitals, which provide critical care to some of New Jersey’s most vulnerable populations, have access to the funding required to create CHP systems that will operate independently of the electrical grid in times of storms, natural disasters, or other emergency situations.”

Some New Jersey hospitals were forced to limit patient care during Sandy because of power loss.

St. Peter’s University Hospital (SPUH) is furthest along in the financing process. The New Brunswick hospital closed late last month on $7.4 million of resiliency bank funds. The bank allotted a $4.4 million grant and a $3 million low-interest loan. In addition, local utility Public Service Electric & Gas (PSE&G) is providing a $1 million loan through its hospital efficiency program.

With loss of its county water supply during Sandy, SPUH had been forced to enact emergency protective measures for patient and employee safety.

In addition to closing on SPUH’s funds, the board granted preliminary approval to fund CHP microgrid projects at RWJBarnabas Health – Newark Beth Israel Medical Center (NBI), Trinitas Regional Medical Center (Trinitas) in Elizabeth, and Hunterdon Medical Center (HMC) in Flemington.

The board okayed the reserve of $15.2 million of ERB funds for NBI. The hospital will receive $11.2 million as a grant and $4 million as a low-interest loan. PSE&G will provide a $580,000 loan.

One of two hospitals in New Jersey where heart transplants are performed and the only hospital in the state certified to perform lung transplants, NBI was on emergency power for a day and a half during Sandy. The hospital was forced to suspend all outpatient services during that time.

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Trinitas, which suffered direct damage to its buildings during Sandy, will receive $9.6 million for its CHP project: $6.6 million as a grant; $3 million as a low-interest loan; and $520,000 in the form of a loan from PSE&G.

HMC, Hunterdon County’s only hospital, sustained extensive damage to its roof during Sandy, which caused water damage throughout the building. The hospital won approval for $5.1 million of ERB funds to be reserved for the project as a grant and $5.8 million as a low-interest loan.

All three hospital microgrid projects will use 2-MW CHP systems, constructed above minimum base flood elevations. The CHP systems will include blackstart and islanding system controls. The hospital microgrids will be able to provide electricity independently from the grid during power outages.

With preliminary approvals in hand, the hospitals can make financial commitments to finalize engineering and design for their microgrid projects.

The three hospitals now move on to the next phase of the ERB program — project review by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

Created by the Gov. Chris Christie, the ERB is the first public infrastructure bank in the nation to focus on energy resilience. The bank finances commercially available and cost-effective resilient energy technologies at critical facilities, with a focus on distributed energy, including CHP and fuel cells.

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About the Author

Elisa Wood | Editor-in-Chief

Elisa Wood is an award-winning writer and editor who specializes in the energy industry. She is chief editor and co-founder of Microgrid Knowledge and serves as co-host of the publication’s popular conference series. She also co-founded, where she continues to lead a team of energy writers who produce content for energy companies and advocacy organizations.

She has been writing about energy for more than two decades and is published widely. Her work can be found in prominent energy business journals as well as mainstream publications. She has been quoted by NPR, the Wall Street Journal and other notable media outlets.

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