NY County Plans Critical Facilities Microgrid; Seeks Consultant

March 26, 2015
Tompkins County, New York plans to build a critical facilities microgrid and seeks bids by March 30 for a consultant to help.

Bids are due March 30 in a solictiation for a consultant to help Tompkins County, New York build a critical facilities microgrid in the village of Lansing.

Like Freeport, N.Y., Tomkins County is soliciting help as it prepares to compete for microgrid funding made available through the $40 million NY Prize.

The county, which has a population of roughly 100,000, is planning a microgrid with one or two 2-MW solar farms, several rooftop or land-based solar arrays, combined heat and power, battery storage, and several existing diesel generators.

The system would be grid-connected, but have the ability to island from the grid.  It would be designed to provide power for essential services and shelter during a prolonged outage.

The county plans to anchor the microgrid around critical facilities (such as health and communications operations), and has identified nine located close together. Their proximity creates an opportunity to develop an unusual microgrid for life-saving services in the event of a power outage.

Plans remain flexible and the microgrid could be enlarged to include other facilities, among them the Cornell Business and Technology Park,  Borg Warner, and certain  medical facilities

The county sees the microgrid as a way to not only power critical services in a crisis, but also to boost economic activity to the region.  Tomkins County, which includes city of Ithaca, faces natural gas constraints that have made it difficult for businesses to expand.

The microgrid is also an environmental play for the county, since it could encourage some businesses that now use natural gas to switch to renewables. The county has a long-term goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent, which the microgrid could foster. It also could help raise awareness about climate and energy issues within the community.

At this juncture, the county expects the microgrid to be owned and maintained by a third party, but plans to consider additional ownership options as part of a feasibility assessment.

Home to Cornell University, Tompkins County also sees the microgrid as an educational tool for local colleges and schools.

More details are available on the Tomkins County website.

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About the Author

Elisa Wood | Editor-in-Chief

Elisa Wood is the editor and founder of EnergyChangemakers.com. She is co-founder and former editor of Microgrid Knowledge.

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