Sub base links into microgrid pilot plan

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy appeared Thursday in Middletown to mark the completion of the first of Connecticut's nine pilot microgrid projects that promise to provide electricity for critical areas of the state in the event of widespread power outages.

Malloy ushered in the first wave of microgrid pilot projects, at the same time announcing a second round of project proposals is under way. The projects aim at keeping critical facilities such as hospitals, police stations, grocery stores and gas stations up and running in the event of a power emergency.

"The Wesleyan microgrid project is an example of how we will help minimize hardships to our residents and businesses during times when severe storms take out power from the electric grid," Malloy said in a statement.

The microgrid project came in the wake of devastating outages during the one-two punch of Tropical Storm Irene and the October Nor'easter in 2011.

Other projects are ongoing in Bridgeport, Fairfield, Groton, Hartford, Storrs, Windham and Woodbridge. Groton's project at the Naval Submarine Base calls for $3 million to be spent for a 5-megawatt cogeneration turbine and a 1.5-megawatt diesel generator.

The first round of grants, administered largely by the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, totaled $18 million. Because the submarine base is a federal facility, funding for Groton was funneled through the state Department of Economic and Community Development.

DEEP's second round of grants, to be awarded in the fall, will total $15 million. For more information about the microgrid program, call 860-827-2688 or email debra.morrell@ct.gov.

"We will continue to work closely with all communities and institutions looking to develop microgrids," DEEP Commissioner Rob Klee said in a statement.

l.howard@theday.com

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