Conn. will create microgrid at Groton submarine base, governor says
By NORWICH BULLETIN, CONN. Published: September 5, 2018
HARTFORD, Conn. (Tribune News Service) — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced Wednesday his administration has approved the release of a $5 million state grant to establish a microgrid at the U.S. Naval Submarine Base in Groton, aiming to strengthen storm resiliency and provide energy security, according to a press release from Ct.gov.
According to the release, the microgrid was developed in coordination with the Connecticut Microgrid Program, which was created by Malloy and administered by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP).
The microgrid will allow the base to seamlessly disconnect from the community utility grid during a power disruption and efficiently dispatch power through the on-base microgrid to mission critical loads, such as homeported submarines, the release said.
The release said the microgrid will transform its existing electrical system into one that is more intelligent, flexible and robust, and additionally allow automated data gathering and precise peak demand control.
"Make no mistake, climate change is having an impact on our communities, and we must take real steps now to strengthen our infrastructure, and plan for future storms and resulting power outages," Malloy said in the release. "Our state agencies, industry leaders, and Navy officials demonstrated an unrelenting commitment to collaborating in this very complex project, producing another innovative partnership between the Navy, our state, and the communities that support the base. This effort once again highlights our resolve to preserve the SUBASE and our historic distinction as the Submarine Capital of the World."
Officials said in the release that they anticipate construction on the project will begin in 2019.
"This proposal promises to enhance the resilience of important national security infrastructure in preparation for climate change, sea level rise, and severe weather events," DEEP Commissioner Rob Klee said in the release. "Our staff will work closely with stakeholders to ensure that the Navy's energy and resilience objectives are met through the development of a well-planned microgrid project."
"A microgrid on the base will enhance our power diversification, our physical and energy security, and most certainly our community collaboration," Captain Paul Whitescarver, Commanding Officer of SUBASE, said in the release.
According to the release, establishing a microgrid at the base will correct a major concern that was identified during the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process in 2005. Connecticut's Office of Military Affairs (OMA) first proposed a SUBASE microgrid in 2010, but the technical complexity of the project and the need for senior Navy endorsement slowed the idea's momentum.
In 2012, Malloy met with then-Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus at the Pentagon, enlisting his support, staff expertise and legal authority to advance the project. Mabus sent staff delegations to Connecticut to collaborate with project stakeholders, the release said.
Connecticut's Microgrid Program was developed in 2012 in response to the recommendation of Malloy's Two Storm Panel following multiple storms, which resulted in widespread outages of long duration. DEEP conducted competitive solicitations in 2013 and 2014 and received applications on a rolling basis from 2015 to 2017, according to the release. To date, the agency has issued $18.4 million in grants for ten projects throughout Connecticut, nine of which are operational while one is under construction, officials said.
A list of proposals and projects funded can be found on the Connecticut Microgrid Program website.
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