N.J. Board of Public Utilities Announces Advancement of Proposed Atlantic City Microgrid

01 Sep 2017

New Jersey Board of Public Utilities President Richard S. Mroz and Atlantic City Mayor Donald A. Guardian announced the advancement of a proposed microgrid that would provide more resilient power to critical facilities used for emergency shelter and services during extreme weather events.

The Board has approved Atlantic City’s application for a microgrid feasibility study that would consider an additional Combined Heat and Power (CHP) system at the ADM Energy’s Midtown Thermal Control Center (MTCC). The microgrid assets are planned to be installed at the MTCC with additional CHP technology currently being removed from the former Revel Casino.

“Atlantic City was caught in the eye of New Jersey’s worst natural disaster nearly five years ago when Superstorm Sandy ravaged the shore, and New Jersey is taking big strides to strengthen infrastructure in the face of future emergencies,” said President Mroz. “As we approach Sandy’s anniversary and consider the devastation happening in the Gulf States, it’s critical for state government to invest in the resiliency of local energy and grid independent technology like town center microgrids.”

In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, the Christie Administration made it a priority to improve energy resiliency and the emergency preparedness and response of the utility companies. Therefore, the 2015 EMP Update contained a new section on hardening and improving utility infrastructure resiliency which supports the establishment of Distributed Energy Resources (DER) such as microgrids to improve the grid’s resiliency and reliability in the event of a major emergency.  The EMP Update also directed the Board to continue its work with the utility companies, local, state and federal governments, and other strategic partners to identify, design and implement Town Center DER microgrids to power critical facilities and services across the state.

The proposed Atlantic City Microgrid would connect critical public and private facilities within the microgrid. It would allow these facilities to remain operational while the electric grid is down and provide increased energy efficiency for those facilities. Revenue would be generated through the sale of Price electricity through the microgrid. Cost savings would also be realized by peak power demand reduction and reduced electric generation.

“This grant represents a major step towards our efforts to make the City more resilient from future storms by providing continued energy to our critical facilities. We thank the NJBPU for this investment,” said Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian.

The critical facilities include:

  • Caesars Atlantic City Hotel and Casino
  • Bally’s Hotel and Casino
  • AtlantiCare (Atlantic City Regional Medical Center)
  • Boardwalk Hall

Based on the list of partners and proposed critical facilities there are seven FEMA category IV designated facilities (category IV is the most critical facility category according to FEMA) and six FEMA categories III facilities that can provide shelter in an emergency.

The estimated time frame to complete the feasibility study is three to four months.  The total incentive amount is $175,000.

The Board established a Town Center Distributed Energy Resource Microgrid Feasibility Study program with a budget of $1 million.  However, on June 30, 2017, after receiving and evaluating 13 applications for proposed microgrids and the potential benefits offered, the Board approved a budget modification to fund all 13 applications at a total cost of $2,052,480. The program was developed to provide incentives for local and state government agencies to study the feasibility of Town Center DER microgrids. The Board approved funding for applications submitted by: Atlantic City, Camden County, Cape May County MUA, Galloway Township, Highland Park, Hoboken, Hudson County, Middletown Township, Montclair Township, Neptune Township, Paterson, Woodbridge Township,

Information regarding the board’s approval of the 13 applications for feasibility studies is below: http://www.state.nj.us/bpu/newsroom/announcements/pdf/20170630_MicrogridFeasibilityStudies.pdf