MONTCLAIR, NJ - Will Montclair Township get Microgrids? A grant award of $142,480 will explore the possibilities.
On Wednesday, Richard S. Mroz, President of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities and Joseph Lake. Fiordaliso, BPU Commissioner were joined by Montclair Sustainability Officer Gray Russell, Montclair Councilor-at-Large Robert Russo, and Acting Township Manager Timothy Stafford at the Montclair Fire Station to announce the award of $142,480 to Montclair Township.
The grant is to conduct a feasibility study for a Town Center Distributed Energy Resource Microgrid.
The proposed study would look at several facilities unique to the 4th ward area that would be included to form a small grid where power could be provided in the event of a major power outage. Such an outage occurred during Hurricane Sandy and had occurred this summer around the nation as several Hurricanes tore through Texas, the Caribbean and Puerto Rico, thus causing major damage to infrastructure and resulting in power loss.
In the presentation for a Microgrid, it was expressed that the proposed study would connect the Montclair Fire Station, Mountainside Hospital, Pine Ridge Senior Citizen Housing, Glenfield School and the NJ Transit Bay Street Station.
Acting Township Manager Stafford said, "Just by planning and preparing for possible disruptions, we bring resilience and security to our communities. Being aware and being prepared are the indicators of responsible local government."
Since Hurricane Sandy, the State of New Jersey has been looking into ways to prevent power shortages throughout the state. The grant would provide Montclair and several critical emergency facilities with an excellent opportunity to to see the feasibility of connecting these facilities by use of such power sources as solar, dispatchable generation such as combined heat and power, battery storage and other new sources of electric innovations that would allow proposed project room to operate during normal and emergency conditions.
Russo added, "This grid would ensure that power does not go down for several sites critical to the 4th ward and the whole of Montclair where there are several major facilities that include the Montclair Fire Station, Mountainside Hospital, senior facility, Glenfield School (shelter) and the train station."
When asked to explain what a microgrid is and it's importance to the Township, Russell explained, "Microgrids are mini grids powered by on site distributed generation that provide electric,heat and cooling to critical facilities such as a hospital, public safety headquarters, town halls , schools and other buildings that can serve as emergency shelters during a crisis, located in a small geographic area."
He continued, "The smaller grids, operating on their own, islanded from the main power grid, can separate and protect themselves from any problems with the main grid and keep vital services in place."
In awarding the grant, Mayor Robert Jackson had this to say, "After living through Sandy, this plan will provide us with an important way of keeping our vital institutions and services up and running should we experience another such major event."
The Township has had a long partnership going back to 2003 of acquiring 6 fuel efficient vehicles; in 2004 there was an upgrade of traffic signals to LEDs for compliance; in 2005, Montclair was given the Clean Leadership Award; in 2006, BioDisel Rebate was awarded in the amount of $28,000; in 2007 Cleanpower Choice Community Partnership; 2011-12 a direct install program was implemented to upgrade 5 municipal buildings; and in 2016-17, direct install lighting improvements were made.
For information regarding the approval for applications for feasibility studies go to