Path to a Clean, Resilient Microgrid in Camden, New Jersey – Microgrid Knowledge

8March 2021

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Camden, New Jersey authorities explain their microgrid method to avoid the sort of power blackouts experienced in Texas last month. Jeffery Nash, a Camden County commissioner, and City Councilwoman Shaneka Boucher use an update on the project's

status. Last month, we viewed in horror as Americans in Texas suffered one of the worst energy crises outside of a natural disaster in recent memory. When an unprecedented cold streak grasped the state, citizens there discovered their energy facilities woefully insufficient, and millions were left without power and water for days and even weeks.

For those people in civil service, this was yet another reminder of the value of proactive preparations that can safeguard our neighborhoods in times of emergencies.


New Jersey Microgrid

The Benjamin Franklin Bridge crosses the Delaware River connecting Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Camden New Jersey. The suspension bridge has actually been in service since 1926. Credit

It was for this very reason that the Camden County Commissioner Board and the City of Camden started dealing with a proposition for a “microgrid” in Camden several years back. A microgrid is separate from the main electrical grid and can therefore supply energy to civil services such as the Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority (CCMUA) and crucial industrial loads like hospitals when the primary grid fails.

A previous expediency study supported the principle of a “sustainability loop” between the CCMUA and Covanta Energy Recovery Center, which would [source] in your area produced energy and develop a microgrid that could separate from the primary electrical grid during a failure.

Since then, the Board of Commissioners and the CCMUA, in partnership with Compass Energy Platform, have actually worked to additional establish the proposition. Last week, in a letter regarding its strategies, Compass announced that it had determined it would have the ability to establish a sufficient number of regional generation assets, such as solar, anaerobic digestion and battery storage, to power the microgrid without counting on Covanta as an energy source.

This is exciting news because it indicates that this innovative venture in resiliency can be advanced utilizing even cleaner renewable energy sources. This will minimize the city's carbon footprint, enhance air quality and increase the presence of renewable resource in Camden.

As we have actually stated in the past, this type of job has never been performed in the state of New Jersey and would represent a first-of-its-kind technological accomplishment, bringing enormous benefits to Camden City and Camden County. The tidy, cheaper and resistant power that the microgrid will have the ability to use its clients must help companies with power quality needs, having a direct effect on the regional economy and accessibility of jobs.

Most significantly, the microgrid will assist secure the people of Camden from power interruptions in the case of storms, flooding or other emergencies.

The requirement for emergency situation preparation of all kinds has never been clearer. While our region has actually been largely spared from the worst impacts of current natural catastrophes, the events in Texas last month underscore how vulnerable the systems we rely on truly are, and how remarkable the effects can be of failing to prepare well ahead of time.

By buying infrastructure enhancements, like the microgrid, we will be prepared to alleviate the impacts of significant storms and supply our citizens access to critical public health and safety services throughout emergencies. With the recent changes offered by Compass, we can accomplish these important public security goals without compromising the ecological and public health of our neighborhood.

Jeffery Nash is a commissioner on the Camden County Board of Commissioners and Shaneka Boucher is a City Councilwoman, representing Ward 1.

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