Microgrid Money Flowing in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania

Nov. 3, 2013
Connecticut is getting ready to issue an RFP for microgrid in January, while other Northeastern states also are distributing funds for microgrid through various channels.

Northeastern governors continue to show that all of their microgrid talk wasn’t just talk following last year’s Superstorm Sandy.

Connecticut plans to open up bidding in January for $15 million it is making available in its second round of microgrid funding.

The program is meant to keep power flowing to critical buildings, like police stations, as well as to commercial centers when big storms hit.

The state will consider bids from cities and towns, utilities, energy improvement districts and private entities. Bidders may propose a complete microgrid system or repurposed, existing distributed energy.

The money can be used only for the cost of design, engineering and interconnection infrastructure. (Those seeking money for the generation portion of a microgrid should contact the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority, [email protected].)

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection plans to release program information in December and the request for proposals in January. Bids are due in June. Winners will be selected in September. Anyone who wants to comment on the schedule must do so by Dec. 3. Email [email protected].

Connecticut actually started its microgrid quest before Superstorm Sandy – reacting to earlier severe storms – and already has issued $18 million to nine microgrid projects, expected to begin operation over the next 18 months.

More details about Connecticut’s upcoming RFP are here.

In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo has created a $20 million competition to create microgrids on Long Island in Nassau and Suffolk counties. The winner of each county contest will receive $10 million.

In New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie allocated $25 million in October to 146 government agencies to develop microgrid and other projects that improve the state’s energy resilience. The money can be used for retrofitting existing distributed generation, including fuel cells or combined heat and power, to increase capacity. It also is available for engineering studies; buying diesel, solar or natural gas-powered generators; and purchasing dynamic inverters and storage for existing solar panels.

The New Jersey program targets critical facilities, and is part of an ongoing energy partnership between the state, Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Separately, New Jersey also is studying a first-of-its kind transportation microgrid through a $1 million federal grant.

And in Pennsylvania,  Philadephia’s Navy Yard has moved forward with its new microgrid, GridSTAR Smart Grid Experience Center. The center includes energy storage, a smart grid demonstration home, electric vehicle charging stations and an indoor-outdoor training facility.

The project recently brought on line a battery that uses a special control system to inject or draw energy from the grid based on a signal from a utility. Solar Grid Storage is managing the new system to help demonstrate the economic viability of energy storage systems. The battery will initially help maintain the frequency of AC power on the grid, but later may also be used to smooth out solar  energy and reduce peak demand energy costs.

The navy yard microgrid is a project of Penn State and the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation, the Department of Energy, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

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.

“For an especially readable voice in the industry, the most consistent interpreter across these years has been the energy journalist Elisa Wood, whose Microgrid Knowledge (and conference) has aggregated more stories better than any other feed of its time,” wrote Malcolm McCullough, in the book, Downtime on the Microgrid, published by MIT Press in 2020.

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