University to receive funding for new 'microgrid'

$2.26 million project to be completely funded by the state of Connecticut

By Scott Roberts | 09/22/13 | Posted in News, Campus News, Local News

The state of Connecticut is funding a new microgrid project that will connect all of the University of Hartford campus to the backup biodiesel generators, preventing another partial campus power outage.

These measures are in response to the powerful October snowstorm in 2011 that knocked out power to parts of campus and forced some students to live in GSU for nearly 10 days.

This microgrid project is one of nine projects approved for Connecticut state funding. the University will receive nearly $2.26 million to complete this project.

Norman Young, the Associate Vice President of Facilities, Planning & Management, explains to STN what exactly a microgrid is, saying, "It's really a way that an institution or a large user of electricity can come off the main power grid and turn themselves into an 'island.'"

According to Young, about 70 percent of the University campus is already hooked up to these biodiesel generators here behind East Hall. The remaining 30 percent that is not connected to the current generator system includes the Village Apartments, Park River Apartments, Regents Park Apartments, and the Konover Campus Center.

With this new microgrid, the University will have almost complete access to backup electricity, with the exception of the Bates House, which is connected to a different electrical grid.

Young tells STN the first step to this project will be trenching to lay underground wires. Plans to start these procedures are set for the upcoming fall, starting in D Lot near the edge of the river.

But, Young reassures this process will not cause any disturbance to campus life, both residential and academic. But he asks that students be patient and cooperate with these measures as they are carried out.

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