Keeping East Hampton As Powerful As Possible

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According to information released by Supervisor Larry Cantwell’s office this week, the Town of East Hampton has started work on a study to find out if a community microgrid–a local energy network that can separate from the larger electrical grid in case of electric grid outages during extreme weather events or other emergencies–is feasible for certain buildings in East Hampton. The purpose of such a microgrid is to allow the generation of independent power for critical facilities such as healthcare, first responders, communication, water supply and government services in order to bolster the area’s resiliency during critical times.

“A community microgrid in East Hampton would keep critical services going in the event of a power outage during a severe storm or other emergency while also saving us energy and money during normal operation,” said Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell.

According to the Town’s Project Manager, John Sousa-Botos, a number of critical facilities are being considered, including the East Hampton Airport, Village Emergency Services, East Hampton High School, Town Hall Campus, 200 Pantigo – East Hampton Healthcare Foundation, Montauk Fire Department and Montauk Playhouse. The microgrid study will also inform plans for generating all electricity consumed in East Hampton with renewable energy sources. Power sources for such a microgrid would include solar, wind, energy storage, and combined heat and power generators.

The Community Microgrid Feasibility Study is funded with a $100,000 award through the NY-Prize competition. The study will be completed in February and will show which critical facilities can be included in the microgrid area(s), along with estimated cost, energy savings and other benefits. The NY Prize is a part of a statewide endeavor to modernize New York State’s electric grid, spurring innovation and community partnerships with utilities, local governments, and private sector.

East Hampton was one of 14 communities on Long Island selected as a Stage 1 winner in June of 2015. Once feasibility assessments are complete, the NY Prize Selection Committee will approve up to $1 million in funding for approximately 10 detailed designs and, in the final stage, up to $7 million  per project for the build and construction of approximately five community microgrids across New York State.

To learn more about NY Prize and the competition structure, visit http://www.nyserda.ny.gov/ny-prize .

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