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New York Prize Community Microgrid

File photo by Rohma Abbas

Huntington’s future just got a little bit brighter, as the town was recently awarded $1 million from the New York Prize Community Microgrid competition.

The prize helps communities reduce costs, promote clean energy, and build reliability and resiliency into the electric grid. It’s part of a statewide endeavor to modernize New York’s electric grid, spurring innovation and community partnerships with utilities, local governments, and the private sector.

Huntington’s proposal would link Town Hall, the Village Green Senior Center, the Huntington YMCA, the Huntington Wastewater Treatment Plant and Huntington Hospital into an electric grid that would be able more quickly to resume full-power operations in the event of massive and long power outages such as occurred during Hurricane Sandy.

Huntington Supervisor Frank Petrone said major storms have helped push Huntington to address the power needs of the community.

“One of the lessons we learned from Superstorm Sandy was the importance of ensuring facilities providing vital services and emergency shelter continue to have power so they can address residents’ health and safety needs,” he said at the event. “This grant takes Huntington one step closer towards ensuring that if another storm like Sandy occurs, we can seamlessly transition into our emergency mode.”

As part of the competition, Huntington will receive $1 million through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, which administers NY Prize, to conduct detailed engineering designs and business plans for a microgrid to bring local clean energy generation and backup power to the community. More than 100 communities applied for the competition.

New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul traveled to Town Hall March 23 to announce the achievement.

“New York has been a nexus for energy innovation since Thomas Edison flipped the switch at the Pearl St. Station 133 years ago,” Hochul said at the event. “Microgrids provide critical power backup while supporting the development of on-site cutting edge renewable energy technologies, which is why we are continuing to incentivize communities through NY Prize to invest in sustainable development.”

Ten other communities statewide have been awarded this prize, and N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said providing funding for microgrids is crucial for survival in emergencies, and also supports the development of renewable energy technologies. Additionally, microgrids support New York State’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030.

“It’s critical that communities across New York have reliable power to provide vital services when they are needed the most,” Cuomo said in a statement. “These awards will help local government modernize and harden their power infrastructure, as well as join this administration’s fight against climate change, and create a cleaner, greener, Empire State for all.”