What are Connecticut’s plans for Microgrids?
Under Public Act 12-148, Section 7
, Connecticut created a Microgrid Program to help support local distributed energy generation for critical facilities. This act required the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to establish a pilot of the Microgrid Program. It was created as a result of multiple episodes of severe weather that caused widespread power outages for extended periods and is designed to help create ways to ensure that critical buildings remain powered during electrical grid outages.
Under the Microgrid Program, grants can be awarded to any number of recipients to support critical facilities and are generally split between small, medium, and large municipalities if possible. Critical facilities, as defined by Public Act 12-148, Section 7
are “any hospital, police station, fire station, water treatment plant, sewage treatment plant, public shelter or correctional facility, any commercial area of a municipality, a municipal center…” Grants under this program are not to exceed $15 million each year.
Municipalities and other program participants that wish to ensure that their critical facilities are more resilient may be eligible for financing from the Connecticut Green Bank
. To be considered for financing, the project proposal must have received or be in the process of applying for a Microgrid Program grant. For more information, visit Finance Your Municipal Microgrid.
What is a Microgrid?
A microgrid is a local energy grid with control capabilities that allows the grid the ability to disconnect from the traditional grid, which is the central power source that supplies power to the buildings and homes in a very large area. A microgrid can operate in both grid-connected and island mode.
A microgrid generally operates while connected to the grid but can disconnect and operate in island mode on its own if there is a crisis such as a power outage or a major storm. The microgrid will then use its own local energy generation from renewable sources, fuel cells, batteries, or fossil fuels to supply power to the nearby buildings until the main grid is stable enough to reconnect.
Current Request for Applications
Currently, DEEP may issue microgrid awards totaling $30 million dollars. DEEP has dedicated $20 million of the $30 million to municipal applicants that do not have access to natural gas or are unable to procure generation due to fiscal constraints (Municipal Track). DEEP began accepting Round 3 applications
on December 10, 2015 and will continue to accept applications on a rolling basis. There is currently no end date to Round 3, although DEEP reserves the right to modify or change the program requirements and criteria as the program moves forward. Currently, one application has been submitted.
Previous Rounds: Award Winners and Updates
On July 24, 2013, Governor Malloy announced the awardees of the first-in-the nation statewide Microgrid Pilot Program. During the announcement, he stated that the nine microgrid projects were “awarded a total of $18 million in funding primarily through the DEEP Microgrid Pilot Program.” Governor Malloy then recommended, and passed in conjunction with the legislature Public Act 13-298
, which authorized an additional $30 million in funding for the Microgrid Program to expand microgrids to other Connecticut communities over the next two years. Projects that were not funded in the Pilot Round were encouraged to participate in future rounds of funding.
On March 6, 2014, Wesleyan University in Middletown started the first CT microgrid
as a result of the grant funding. Wesleyan’s microgrid connects existing generation to critical facilities on campus and has the ability to go into island mode to power the critical facilities in an event of a power failure.
The University of Hartford’s microgrid became operational in August 2015. The microgrid connected the North Dorms, Konover Campus Center, and the Operations Building to existing emergency generators.
The Town of Fairfield’s microgrid became operational in October 2015. The critical facilities to be served are the police headquarters, the emergency communications center, a cell phone tower service; the fire headquarters; and Operation Hope Homeless Shelter.
DEEP issued a request for proposals for Round 2 of the Microgrid Program in March 2014. Of the five proposals submitted for Round 2, two were awarded grants totaling approximately $5.1 million.
To view Microgrid Program filings select the link below:
All requests to be placed on the notification list or any questions on the above-referenced processes should be addressed to DEEP.EnergyBureau@ct.gov
Content last updated August 2016