NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - The state and PSEG will be providing Saint Peter’s University Hospital with $8.5 million in grants and loans to construct a two-megawatt generator, designed to help the hospital operate during large-scale infrastructure failures similar to Superstorm Sandy.
The announcement came on the heels of the five year anniversary of Sandy, during which electricity was lost for hundreds of police and fire stations, hospitals, and wastewater treatment facilities.
“Numerous hospitals were operating at a really diminished capacity because of power outages,” said Gov. Chris Christie, who was on hand Oct. 27 for the announcement, “That kind of lack of resources is potentially life-threatening to our population.”
With the project being built, Saint Peter’s would be able to function independently of the grid during extensive power outages like those experienced during Sandy, said PSEG CEO Dave Daly.
The generator is expected to be operational in 2018, according to Daly. The announcement was held atop a large concrete slab behind the hospital, where the generator will be built.
“With these types of plants at our hospitals, we won’t have to worry about New Jersey residents that are sick and suffering,” Christie said.
The majority of the funding will come from the state Economic Development Authority's Emergency Resilience Program, a $200 million pool which provides money to projects across the state, aimed at increasing energy resiliency.
The EDA will provide Saint Peter’s with a $4.3 million grant and a $3 million loan, while PSEG will provide a $1 million loan.
Another 10 hospitals across the state are currently eyeing similar projects so that they can withstand the brunt of infrastructure failure during large-scale disasters.
“For all of us, we don’t ever want to see another storm like Sandy again,” Christie said.
The storm had taken an “enormous toll on families and cities” and caused “enormous damage to infrastructure,” Daly added.
During the storm, all 94 of New Jersey’s wastewater treatment plants were thrown offline because of power outages, Christie said, eventually causing officials to have to dump large quantities of raw sewage into the drinking water. Many residents were under boil water advisories as a result.
Other infrastructure failures led to many police and fire departments without power, along with 2.2 million utility customers.
Daly said that PSEG had taken steps to ensure these “critical customers” would not be without power in the event of another large-scale power outage.
For example, 18 substations or switching stations in flood prone areas were raised or rebuilt, while 240 miles of new, study and durable plastic natural gas pipelines were installed in flood-prone areas.
Officials had also installed redundancy technology, which reduces the number of power outages for emergency service provider s, Daly said.