BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Designed to provide a minimum of four weeks of power to several critical public facilities in the event of an outage, the Bridgeport energy microgrid is the first of its kind in the U.S.
The project is part of a statewide pilot program that launched in January 2013. The project, which is estimated to complete in July 2014, will serve as a case study on how to best implement microgrids on a wide scale.
Torrance, Calif.-based Partner Engineering and Science Inc. developed the microgrid, which will support the city’s city hall complex, police headquarters and senior center.
The state’s decision to implement a microgrid program was in response to several significant power outages in the state, which heavily affected local economies. The city received a $2.97 million grant for the development and construction of the 1.8 megawatt microgrid. The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Bureau of Energy and Technology administered the project.
“Partner is proud to be at the cutting edge of the emerging charge in developing microgrids that provide isolated power that cannot be interrupted with weather, transmission or distribution events,” said Fred Fastiggi, Partners director of energy consulting, in a statement. “Power outages, especially those resulting from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, have severely impacted hundreds of families and the overall economies of the victimized communities. Partner is excited to develop groundbreaking programs that will eliminate significant power loss in the future.”
The microgrid will also work to alleviate congestion of electricity and lower overall energy costs in the city.
The market for publically funded microgrid projects is also on the verge of a huge uptick. According to a study released by Navigant Research, the move to publically funded microgrid projects will drive the market from its current annual $8 billion industry up to an annual $40 billion industry by 2020.
“Partner is at the forefront of an effort that will accelerate in the next several years because there is a need across the region,” Fastiggi said. “According to recent reports, the microgrid capacity in North America is expected to reach 5.9 gigawatts by 2020, which will represent 64 percent of the worldwide microgrid capacity.”