Connecticut Issues Second Microgrid Solicitation March 6

March 6, 2014
Connecticut today opened bidding for $15 million in new microgrid projects. This is Connecticut’s second round of microgrid funding, part of a program to build the mini-electric grids throughout the state and avoid a repeat of the prolonged power outages brought on by recent storms.

Connecticut today (March 6) released its second microgrid solicitation, which offers $15 million in funding.

Governor Dannel Malloy announced the second round at Wesleyan University in Middletown University, site of a new microgrid project that was funded  through the state’s initial $18 million microgrid release of funds.

The second RFP seeks to build on the success of the first and achieve statewide deployment of microgrids. To that end, the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is looking for projects that promote geographic diversity. The RFP also seeks a variety of project sizes, scale, and technical configurations. They must support critical facilities when the grid fails — Connecticut  began pursuing microgrid in response to storms in recent years that created prolonged utility outages.

Bids are due Aug. 6 at 4 p.m. A bidders’ conference will be held March 20. Winners will be announced by Oct. 1.

Winners will receive a maximum of $3 million each. To receive the funding, microgrid projects must meet series of milestones. They must, for example, begin operating within three years.

Each winning project must serve two or more critical facilities and have a signed support letter from the municipality where it will be located.

No more than 25 percent of the microgrid’s generation can be from diesel.  Solar photovoltaic and wind energy will be counted toward overall generation capacity only if they are paired in the microgrid with energy storage that will allow 24/7 use of the power when the microgrid islands.

The project must be able to provide on-site power in both grid connected and island mode for a minimum of 7,000 hours annually (80 percent minimum availability). Winning microgrids also must be able to withstand a Category I hurricane.

Connecticut defines microgrids as facilities that provide electricity to critical facilities and town centers on a 24/7 basis, with a system of “trips” and “transfers” to isolate the microgrid and provide power within its network even when there is a large-scale outage.

The microgrid program was created as part of Malloy’s storm legislation in 2012, which included a number of initiatives to better prepare the state for extreme weather.

The state granted $18 million to nine projects from the initial round. The remaining projects are expected to come online over the next 18 months.

The second RFP is available here.

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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 RealEnergyWriters.com, 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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