NYPA and SUNY to Build a Campus Microgrid at Gym in New Paltz

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The New York Power Authority and the State University of New York (SUNY) are partnering to build a $1.37 million campus microgrid to supply power to a gym when the central grid fails.

The campus microgrid will power the Elting Gymnasium, which is a designated Red Cross emergency shelter.  The system includes 217-kW of solar, most of which will be installed on the gym’s roof with the remainder on the nearby Sojourner Truth Library.

The project also includes a hybrid power converter, backup generator, and a battery storage system located in the gym’s basement.

In addition to acting as back-up during an outage, the system will allow the school to use stored solar power during times of peak demand for the university.

The project received $271,720 from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and $210,000 from Central Hudson Gas & Electric, the local utility. The additional costs will be financed by NYPA and repaid by the college through the expected energy savings. NYPA is implementing the project and providing more than $580,000 in funding.

“The energy generated by these solar panels can be stored for impactful use at times of high electric demand on campus and during an emergency, allowing for increased flexibility and resiliency of the state’s electric grid,” said Gil Quiniones, NYPA president and CEO.

The project is part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s BuildSmart NY program, a  component of New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision strategy to create a more decentralized, reliable and clean power system.  The state has set a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent and use renewables for half of its energy needs by 2030.

“Combining solar energy and a battery storage system has the potential to make a huge impact on our energy use. Adding renewables and resilience to the state’s electric grid is a critical component of Governor Cuomo’s energy vision and we are proud to be a partner in this project,” said John Rhodes, NYSERDA president and CEO.

Michael Mosher, president and CEO of Central Hudson said that the project provides an opportunity to test the ability of smart inverters and battery storage to support grid functions for the benefit of all customers.

In addition NYPA, NYSERDA and the Electric Power Research Institute are funding research to identify additional technical and economic benefits of the project. The research is being done through EPRI’s Integrated Grid initiative and directly supports the REV strategy.

“This project gives a glimpse of the grid of the future,” said Mark McGranaghan, vice president of power delivery & utilization at EPRI. “One-day installations like this will be common elements of the grid, providing benefits of resiliency and optimizing overall energy use and grid performance.”

NYPA expects to complete the project by year’s end.

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Energy Storage
Energy Storage in Smart Microgrids
All power systems also require the capability to balance, in real time, differences between load demand and generator output. This balancing capability—which keeps system frequency at the level where it’s designed to operate—is critical to ensure the stability and reliability of the overall power system, for both centralized power grids as well as microgrids. In a centralized grid, fossil-fuel-fired generating plants typically will ramp up or down to ensure demand and generation output remains in balance.
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Interested in a microgrid for your facility? Learn from the experts how it’s done. Attend “NY and Beyond,” a microgrid conference hosted by Microgrid Knowledge May 19 in Manhattan. 

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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.