Connecticut's State Bond Commission was expected Tuesday to approve $30 million in funding for microgrid projects that Gov. Dannel Malloy said would strengthen the state's weather resiliency.
"By creating microgrids, we can provide power for critical government operations, shelter for the public, and business services people need, even when the lights go out elsewhere," Malloy said in a statement.
Microgrids can provide electricity to critical government facilities and town centers on a 24/7 basis. They include a system to isolate the microgrid and provide power within its network even amid the kind of a large-scale outages Connecticut has experienced in recent years.
Governments can use power for services such as police, fire, and emergency response teams, hospitals and health-care facilities, state and town emergency response centers, grocery stores, and gas stations.
Connecticut created its microgrid grant and loan program in 2012 as part of a Malloy legislative package following several major storms, including Hurricane Sandy. The package included initiatives to enhance and augment the ability of the state, municipalities and utility companies to better prepare for and respond to natural disasters and intense weather situations.
The program would establish a rolling application process for microgrid proposals, which will allow for quicker review and construction of new projects. Funds could be used for design, engineering and interconnection infrastructure to connect with the main power grid as a backup. They can also be used to purchase and install a generating system, including energy storage, to create power for the microgrid.
The state's Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has previously awarded funding for 10 microgrids statewide in two previous rounds. Three have completed construction and testing and are considered operational -- at Wesleyan University in Middletown, in the Town of Fairfield, and at the University of Hartford.
Two projects have completed construction and DEEP is awaiting confirmation reports from the testing and commissioning before declaring them operational. They are in Windham and at the University of Bridgeport.
Four projects are in the design or construction phase. The Hartford, Bridgeport, Woodbridge and Milford projects should all become operational in 2017 or 2018.