Connecticut governor announces initial microgrid installation sites

Connecticut Governor Daniel Malloy announced, last week, the sites for Connecticut’s microgrid program, an $18 million pilot program with an additional $30 million committed in the next two years.

The submarine base in Groton, the University of Hartford, Wesleyan University and police and fire stations around Connecticut are among the sites where microgrids will be installed to keep the power on during and immediately after major storms.

The microgrids – small versions of electricity systems that generate, distribute and regulate the flow of electricity – were among numerous recommendations to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy from a committee looking into the impacts of lengthy power outages after Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011 and a freak snowstorm two months later.

The initial nine microgrids will be developed to power government services including police, fire, and hospitals, as well as other critical services in the event of power outages like those seen in the wake of recent heavy storms.

Fuel cells, small-scale gas turbines and anaerobic digesters, which break down biodegradable material, would power the microgrids, Energy and Environment Commissioner Daniel Esty said. The microgrids would extend beyond backup power sources that failed after a day or two during massive storms, he said.

“You can’t avoid power outages. What we’re hoping to do with the microgrid structure is have a more diversified power system with a portfolio of power sources and is more resilient,” he said.

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