The Department of Energy (DOE) will partner with the State of New Jersey, N.J. Transit and the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to assess NJ Transit’s energy needs and help develop a conceptual design of an advanced microgrid system.
Under this partnership, the DOE’s Sandia National Laboratories will assist NJ Transit in its efforts to enhance the reliability and resiliency of electricity used for its rail and system operations.
U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Gov. Chris Christie traveled to Secaucus, New Jersey, to announce the memorandum of understanding at NJ Transit and discuss making the region’s critical infrastructure more resilient in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.
“As we rebuild New Jersey from Superstorm Sandy, I am committed to making our state stronger and more resilient. NJ Transitgrid is an important step in that process,” said Gov. Christie. “This first-of-its-kind electrical microgrid will supply highly-reliable power during storms, and help keep our public transportation systems running during natural times of disaster, which is critical not only to our economy, but also emergency and evacuation-related activities. The Obama administration has been an integral partner with this innovative project, and we will work closely with them in the months ahead to make NJ Transitgrid a reality.”
“The President’s Climate Action Plan calls for making our nation’s infrastructure smarter and stronger so that it can withstand new and more serious environmental threats and increasingly severe weather events,” said Secretary Moniz. “The partnership announced today marks an important step in this direction by working to improve the electric grid system in New Jersey and the broader region so that it is more resilient and better equipped to maintain power during natural disasters.”
The NJ Transit system is a critical transportation corridor and evacuation route for Manhattan. Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene and other natural disasters have exposed the vulnerability of the transit system to power outages.
Through this agreement, the DOE and Sandia National Laboratories will work with NJ Transit and the Board of Public Utilities to design a dynamic microgrid to power the transit system between Newark and Jersey City and Hoboken as well as critical stations and maintenance facilities. This project will make it easier to get the power back on after a major disaster — and it will also help improve public safety throughout the region.
Sandia National Laboratories has already designed advanced microgrids that are up and running at more than 20 military bases across the country. This partnership will utilize a quantitative risk-based assessment tool, entitled the Energy Surety Design Methodology (ESDM), that was developed at Sandia National Laboratories and allows communities to evaluate their regional energy needs, identify advanced solutions to improve the reliability and resiliency of their electric grids, and understand the most cost-effective strategies for system upgrades.
At the core of this methodology is the use of advanced smart grid technologies and the integration of distributed energy resources such as backup generators, wind generation, photovoltaics and energy storage. Previous applications of the ESDM have shown enhanced reliability and resiliency, improved integration of renewable and distributed energy and cost-effectiveness.