From deputy Communications Director Dalmarys Matos:
Mayor Joe Ganim and City officials today launched the new ‘microgrid’ generators that will supply cleaner energy to power City Hall, Police Headquarters and the Eisenhower Senior Center beginning in the summer 2017. The microgrid project is a standalone power generation system providing non-stop, year-round power to all three facilities. Once complete the generators will provide the vast majority of heating for City Hall and Police Headquarters as well as a significant amount of air conditioning for both buildings.
“This is one of the first steps we as a City are taking to make Bridgeport environmentally conscious,” said Mayor Ganim. “It is my commitment to reduce our carbon footprint and make Bridgeport one of the leading cities in the country for green energy. Additionally, these generators will bring a reliable energy source that we can depend on when storms hit and power is compromised.”
This project will be the first in Connecticut to couple a new traditional natural gas reciprocating engine generator that can run round the clock in all types of weather with a microgrid distribution system. The microgrid provides fail safe power in the event of a weather or blackout event, providing an operations command for the city, a potential shelter for residents, and a place for residents to obtain power for phones, computers, medical equipment, etc.
Multiple entities made funding for this project possible. The City was awarded a DEEP grant worth $2,975,000. The State Bond Commission is financing the project with $2 million. Bridgeport Microgrid, LLC is obtaining construction financing from First Niagara Bank worth $3.5 million and term debt financing from Connecticut Green Bank. Connecticut Green Bank is contributing an additional $28,000 to help with the cost of converting the existing buildings to be able to fully utilize the benefits of the new microgrid system. The cost of the emergency generator which needed replacement at Police Headquarters with or without the microgrid is included in the funding for the project.
Legislative Liaison and Marketing Manager from Green Bank, Matt Macunas, said “Green Bank loves Bridgeport. It’s not only our most populous city; it’s a real success story when it comes to project development and deployment of clean energy. This is a very good thing for a city like Bridgeport to have that sort of reliability and security in its energy system. We are very happy that we could help make this happen.”
The project offers substantial environmental benefits in the form of higher conversion efficiencies. When making hot water for heating and chilled water for cooling, less fuel is used to make a comparable amount of energy with fewer emissions.
Bridgeport Microgrid, LLC is overseeing the design, construction and daily operation of the microgrid system. O, R & L Construction is the general contractor handling the day to day construction and coordination. Controlled Air, Inc. and Johnson Controls are working on the technical aspects of the microgrid, and BL Companies have provided engineering expertise in the design of this complex system.
This system will give the city the option to expand in the future to other vital city buildings like the Margaret E. Morton Government Center, Fire Headquarters, and other buildings in the event future regulation or market factors make this viable.