New Jersey regulators liked what they saw when local communities applied for funding to install town center microgrids. So rather than allotting $1 million as planned last week, they more than doubled the budget to $2,052,480.
The Board of Public Utilities granted the funds at its June 30 meeting so that the communities can undertake feasibility studies, an important step in early microgrid development.
Originally planning to select only 5 to 12 projects, the board instead approved 13 applications.
“My fellow commissioners and I are excited to get these 13 microgrid feasibility studies started as the final reports will provide great detail on options concerning designs, connections, financing options and the types of buildings to be included in a town center microgrid,” said Richard Mroz, board president.
New Jersey’s ‘town center microgrids’ are similar to what’s called community microgrids in Connecticut, New York and other states that foster their development. Town center microgrids keep crucial public services operating during a power outage.
The money will be divided among the 13 applicants, which are: Atlantic City, Camden County, Cape May County MUA, Galloways Township, Highland Park, Hoboken, Hudson County, Middletown Township, Montclair Township, Neptune Township, Paterson, Woodbridge Township, and the State of New Jersey Department of Treasury with the partners Mercer County, Mercer County Improvement Authority and Trenton.
The program sprang out of the Christie Administration’s goal to improve energy resiliency following the state’s devastating hit from Superstorm Sandy. The board voted to issue the solicitation at its Jan. 25 meeting, and began accepting proposals from local government and state agencies that own or manage critical facilities. The program was open to storm vulnerable areas.
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“As these town center microgrids are developed around the state, communities will have the power and freedom to keep critical facilities such as hospitals, police and fire stations, water and wastewater treatment plants and buildings used to shelter residents operational and running independent of the grid during emergencies,” Mroz said.
After the feasibility studies are finished, the state expects to begin a second stage of the program, which will seek detailed engineering design.
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