WOODBRIDGE, Conn. (WTNH)-- Connecticut is a step closer to making some town centers storm proof. The Governor is giving the green light for eight communities to start work on their own 'micro-grids' for essential services during prolonged power outages.
The 'Autumn Nor'easter' that dumped huge amounts of heavy wet snow on leaf laden trees in October of 2011 was just one of several extreme weather events that left thousands of Connecticut residents without power for more than a week.
In leafy Woodbridge, the outages and downed trees were especially bad. There, like in many other towns, residents had to rely on town facilities for days just to take a shower.
"A lot of the town residents relied on our town center for essential services for water and that sort of thing as you know; a lot of our town is septic and well," said Anthony Genovese,Town of Woodbridge.
But after days and days it became difficult to get diesel fuel for generators.
"We have to get fuel here and that was a little bit of a struggle during that time so it wasn't as reliable as we had hoped," said Genovese.
"Connecticut is the first state in the nation to undertake a state-wide micro-grid program," said Gov. Dannel Malloy, (D) Connecticut.
Wednesday, the Governor announced that Woodbridge, along with seven other communities, will be first in line to receive help in building a micro-grid for essential services in the center of town.
Woodbridge is now on the natural gas line, which will run the generator at the town firehouse, but a micro-grid will allow the town to hook up a full time fuel cell or or a gas fired turbine to produce power all the time, not just during emergencies.
"It is isolatable, separate from the grid when the power goes down, so it is what we say 'islandable' in a crisis," said Cmsr. Dan Esty, CT Dept. of Energy & Environment.
Putting essential town services on a micro-grid will also allow utilities to work to restore other outages faster.
"So we can add other items to our top ten emergency list for U-I and have other places restored in a timely manner," said First Sel. Ellen Scalettar, (D) Woodbridge.
The Governor says he's expecting to announce a second round of these micro-grid grants very soon, some of these could be in place by one year from now.
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