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New Rochelle To Research Alternative Energy Sources

A rendering of the potential microgram technology in New Rochelle.
A rendering of the potential microgram technology in New Rochelle. Photo Credit: Contributed

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – After earning a $100,000 grant through the NY Prize Initiative to become the first city in Westchester to pursue the merits of microgrid technology, New Rochelle officials are set to build on the city’s GreeNR sustainability plan.

New Rochelle officials have retained the services of Booz Allen Hamilton, a century-old technology and consulting firm with a vast experience of commercial and military microgrids as they research the feasibility of installing a community microgrid – “a standalone energy system that can operate independently of the main grid in the event of a power outage.”

According to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, microgrids are local energy networks that are able to separate from the larger electrical grid during extreme weather events or emergencies, providing power to individual customers and crucial public services such as hospitals, first responders and water treatment facilities.”

“We’re excited about this initiative,” New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson said. “A local microgrid would help us to improve the reliability and resilience of electric service to critical facilities, while also giving a boost to economic development goals.”

As part of the microgrid project, Booz Allen officials will team with community stakeholders and utility representatives to study technical assessments of energy generation assets, power flows, costs, benefits and required infrastructure. The study, which represents phase one of the project, is scheduled to be completed early next year.

“New York is at the cutting edge of the future of electric distribution, and we’re excited to partner with Power Analytics and Siemens to deliver a secure and distributed energy future,” Booz Allen Executive Vice President Gary Rahl said. “Learning (in New Rochelle) will help advance the vision and feasibility of utility system transformation that the governor’s Reforming the Energy Vision Initiative.”

According to a joint statement from the City Council, a microgrid “would integrate renewable power with other advanced energy technologies to create a cleaner, more affordable and more resilient localized energy grid for participants.” It will also help during the summer on days with high demand for power by reducing the energy drawn from the main grid.

With the grant money secured and plans for a microgrid taking shape, the city and Booz Allen Hamilton consultants will undergo a six-month feasibility study regarding the energy source.

“With funding for the feasibility analysis in hand, Booz Allen Hamilton can now conduct a more in-depth six-month study that will culminate with a new application for an engineering grant,” Bramson noted. “Then, if we get past stage two, we will apply for implementation assistance.”

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