NY County Plans Critical Facilities Microgrid; Seeks Consultant

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Bids are due March 30 in a solictiation for a consultant to help Tompkins County, New York build a critical facilities microgrid in the village of Lansing.

Like Freeport, N.Y., Tomkins County is soliciting help as it prepares to compete for microgrid funding made available through the $40 million NY Prize.

The county, which has a population of roughly 100,000, is planning a microgrid with one or two 2-MW solar farms, several rooftop or land-based solar arrays, combined heat and power, battery storage, and several existing diesel generators.

The system would be grid-connected, but have the ability to island from the grid.  It would be designed to provide power for essential services and shelter during a prolonged outage.

The county plans to anchor the microgrid around critical facilities (such as health and communications operations), and has identified nine located close together. Their proximity creates an opportunity to develop an unusual microgrid for life-saving services in the event of a power outage.

Plans remain flexible and the microgrid could be enlarged to include other facilities, among them the Cornell Business and Technology Park,  Borg Warner, and certain  medical facilities

The county sees the microgrid as a way to not only power critical services in a crisis, but also to boost economic activity to the region.  Tomkins County, which includes city of Ithaca, faces natural gas constraints that have made it difficult for businesses to expand.

The microgrid is also an environmental play for the county, since it could encourage some businesses that now use natural gas to switch to renewables. The county has a long-term goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent, which the microgrid could foster. It also could help raise awareness about climate and energy issues within the community.

At this juncture, the county expects the microgrid to be owned and maintained by a third party, but plans to consider additional ownership options as part of a feasibility assessment.

Home to Cornell University, Tompkins County also sees the microgrid as an educational tool for local colleges and schools.

More details are available on the Tomkins County website.

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About Elisa Wood

Elisa Wood is the chief editor of MicrogridKnowledge.com and EnergyEfficiencyMarkets.com. She has been writing about energy for more than two decades for top industry publications. Her work also has been picked up by CNN, the New York Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal Online and the Washington Post.


  1. […] Tompkins County and Freeport earlier made known their plans to vie for the money, as well. […]