eLab Accelerator 2015

Hoboken Microgrid Development

Project Objective

To develop and recommend pilot project design, financing, and ownership models for the City of Hoboken and the State of New Jersey to deploy microgrid solutions for critical facilities.

Project Team Members

Ross Guttromson, Manager Electric Power System Research, Sandia National Labs
Ananda Kanapathy,Director of Electric & Gas Asset Strategy, PSE&G
Caleb Stratton, Principal Planner, City of Hoboken
Joe Sullivan, Vice President Energy Policy and Development, Concord Engineering
Michael Winka, Senior Policy Advisor to the NJBPU President, NJ Board of Public Utilities
Adam Zellner, President, Greener by Design

Project Description

Over 75% of Hoboken, NJ is located within a Special Flood Hazard Area. In 2012, Superstorm Storm Sandy crippled the local power system by inundating sub-stations with coastal storm surge, plunging the City into darkness for over 7 days. This directly impacted thousands of residents sheltering in place, and greatly affected the ability for the city to recover following the storm. Recognizing the likelihood of future storms, power interruption and the increasing cost of energy, the City partnered with the Department of Energy & Sandia National Laboratories to develop an energy security strategy. The resultant design solution powers up to 55 critical facilities by connecting multiple power generation assets via a new and resilient underground medium voltage distribution network.

Progress Made to Date (pre-Accelerator)

To date, the City of Hoboken, U.S. Department of Energy, N.J. Board of Public Utilities, and PSE&G have formed an MOU to design an energy resilient “smart grid” to improve Hoboken’s resiliency to power outages. The project team has been actively engaging large scale energy service providers to understand how the project must evolve from the 20% Sandia National Labs design to a financeable and implementable model. Hoboken plans to develop and release a Request for Expression of Interest or a Request for Proposals as soon as April. Hoboken has begun to purchase >500kW of generation assets through a bond ordinance and hazard mitigation funds. The City has also added an alternate bid item to the redesign of main street that includes two 5” galvanized steel conduits, and two 2” PVC conduits to develop the potential “spine” of the microgrid.

Post-Accelerator Outcomes

The team from Hoboken came to Accelerator with a vision of what their city needed to become energy resilient, and some early technical assessments of how that might be achieved. The team left with a plan for a microgrid business model that could take advantage of the unique capabilities of all stakeholders, specifically the city and the utility, and could become a lighthouse example for progressive business models and a more distributed, resilient energy system in New Jersey.