The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities is pursuing a $12 million grant through the U.S. Department of Energy to create a microgrid.
BPU Transmission and Distribution Manager Kris Sellstrom said a microgrid is a power plant or generation resource that can be run disconnected from the regional transmission system, “You know, we have a power plant here, we have the Allen 6000 Gas Turbine. However, for us to run the power plant, we need to be interconnected with the transmission system. The transmission system provides both voltage support and inertia for the power plant to run.”
Sellstrom said a microgrid would help prevent against regional power outages like the one caused in January by a breaker trip by National Grid.
He said the microgrid would serve the downtown area, including government and public safety building, healthcare facilities, and some Jamestown school buildings.
The total cost of the project is $15 million with the $3 million local share being paid by the BPU. They estimate it will take five years to implement.
Sellstrom said the proposal would add a battery system to the power plant, advanced controls, and use the gas turbine to generate electricity.
BPU General Manager Dave Leathers when it comes to the State’s Climate Act, they’re hoping the Gas turbine will be fine for use until 2035 or even 2040, “So over the next 10 to 15 years, I think we’ll be looking at what’s another source of technology related to generation. And so there’s some questions here on when the gas turbine ultimately comes off line, what replaces it, if it’s a state level that’s not designed yet, and that’s work that we continue to do year in and year out.”
Leathers said he anticipates that as new generation is added and emission-free technology is developed in line with the State’s Climate Act that it will be incorporated into the microgrid.
Jamestown Board of Public Utilities Microgrid Proposal webinar slides
The BPU will take further public comments on the microgrid application at the monthly BPU Board meeting at 4:30 p.m., Monday, March 27.
I question a 12 million dollar investment that will be redundant in under 20 years. It’s like a teenage kid asking for money for something they think they need just because his daddy is rich. It would be nice, but: 1. Do we really need it, and 2. Are there other more sustainable solutions? Responsible use of Uncle Sam’s purse requires judicious use of resources.