Connecticut’s governor Dannel Malloy announced that the state has funded 9 microgrid pilots to keep critical buildings functioning during power outages. The $18 million in funding will go to pilots in Bridgeport, Fairfield, Groton, Middletown, Storrs, Windham, Woodbridge and two in Hartford.
Malloy emphasized that microgrids play a major role in Connecticut’s efforts to modernize and harden its infrastructure to withstand severe weather. The microgrids will include an isolation system so they can provide power despite any large-scale outages. The state’s department of energy and environmental protection will provide most of the funding and the governor has suggested setting aside an additional $30 million to fund more microgrids across the state.
The projects will provide power for government services and businesses that are critical during extreme weather events, including police, fire, and emergency response teams, hospitals and health care facilities, state and town emergency response centers, grocery stores and gas stations.
Funding amounts vary for each city, depending on the individual pilot program. Hartford, for instance, will receive $2.27 million for two 1.9 MW diesel generators (existing), a 250 kW diesel and a 150 kW diesel generator and another $2.06 million for a 600 kW natural gas turbine. Windham, on the other hand, will receive $639,950 for two 130 kW natural gas, a 250 kW solar, a 200 kWh battery and 2 kW diesel generator. In Groton, the Naval Submarine Base will receive $3 million for a 5 MW cogeneration turbine and a 1.5 MW diesel generator.
The 9 projects were chosen out of 36 microgrid concepts that applied for the funds.
As a region, North America is the world’s leading market for microgrids with a planned, proposed, and deployed capacity of 2,505 MW, according to a May report from Navigant Research. As a sector, microgrids are beginning to move into the mainstream, with a greater focus being placed on viable business models. The result is a much more robust microgrid market than just a few years ago. According to the report, more than 480 microgrid projects are proposed, planned, under construction, or operating worldwide, representing nearly 3,800 MW of capacity.