Connecticut today released $5.1 million from its second microgrid solicitation to fund projects in Bridgeport and Milford.
The funding was approved by the state Bond Commission, and will be made available to the projects pending achievement of specified milestones.
Governor Dannel Malloy had announced the two winning projects in October.
An earlier microgrid solicitation netted nine microgrid projects in Bridgeport, Fairfield, Groton, Hartford, Middletown, Storrs, Windham, and Woodbridge, which were awarded $18 million. One of the projects at Wesleyan University in Middletown is already operating. The others are in various stages of development.
Connecticut launched the microgrid solicitation program to improve public safety and quality-of-life when the power goes out due to storms, natural disasters or other calamities.
“Just this week, our state was hit with another severe weather event that threatened our electric grid. While we were fortunate to experience relatively few outages during this most recent weather event, we must be prepared to provide critical support and services to our residents when the lights do go out – and microgrid projects can help us do just that,” Malloy said.
Malloy added that microgrids are essential to Connecticut’s “strategy to make certain that we can better withstand the type of catastrophic storms we have experienced in recent years, and the extended loss of power that accompanies them.”
The Milford microgrid, which will receive $2.9 million, is being developed by Schneider Electric, Green Energy Corp. and ZHP Systems in partnership with the city. It will serve the Parsons Government Center, middle school, senior center, senior housing and city hall. The funding will go toward design, engineering and interconnection infrastructure costs. The microgrid design includes two 148-kW natural gas combined heat and power (CHP) units, 120 kW of solar photovoltaics and a 100 kW battery energy storage system.
In Bridgeport, FuelCell Energy will provide a 1.4-MW fuel cell for the University of Bridgeport’s dining hall, recreation center, student center, police station and two residence halls. The Bridgeport microgrid will receive almost $2.2 million in funding for eligible design, engineering and interconnection infrastructure costs. The campus can shelter about 2,700 residents during a crisis, and the dining hall can provide food services. It serves as a logical companion to a Bridgeport project funded in the first microgrid solicitation, which will provide power largely for critical city services.
“These microgrid projects in Bridgeport and Milford, in addition to the other projects previously approved, will improve public health and safety by allowing for the continuation of municipal services and giving residents a place to seek shelter and stay warm and dry,” said Robert Klee, commissioner of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). “Microgrids are a key part of our efforts to build and harden the resiliency of our state.”
The state has yet to set a date for a third microgrid solicitation.
“We are developing plans for future funding and determining what will work best for communities and institutions that have been most interested in this program,” said Dennis Schain, DEEP communications director.
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