The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and the Patrick administration have awarded $7.4 million to six community resilient power projects that will support critical infrastructure and services during natural disasters and other emergencies.  These projects, once constructed, will keep electricity flowing to public shelters, wastewater treatment plants, and other critical community facilities when the electric grid goes down.

The awards are made by the Massachusetts Community Clean Energy Resiliency Initiative, a $40 million state grant program focused on using clean and renewable energy solutions to achieve municipal resilience. The program is funded by Alternative Compliance Payment (ACP) funds, which are collected from electrical retail suppliers that are unable to meet their compliance obligations under the state’s Renewable and Alternative Portfolio Standard programs.

The project implementation awards include one microgrid, three combined heat and power (CHP) projects, and two solar PV projects with battery storage.  The critical facilities to be supported include schools and community centers that serve as public shelters, police and fire stations, wastewater treatment plants, a municipal fueling station, and a hospital. The projects are located in Berkeley/Taunton, Boston, Lawrence, Northampton, South Essex and Springfield.

“Massachusetts has demonstrated real leadership on resilient power,” said Clean Energy Group President Lewis Milford in a press release. “This shows what a state can do to protect its citizens from the devastating impacts of power outages in severe weather. Most important, we will now have more projects in the ground so other communities can learn the value of these distributed power systems and follow Massachusetts’ lead.”

Clean Energy Group has supported the DOER program, and similar programs in other states, as a response to Hurricane Sandy and other recent storms, which have exposed the vulnerability of electricity grids and the critical need for distributed resilient power systems. Through its Resilient Power Project, Clean Energy Group works to advance the deployment of resilient power technologies in states and local communities. The project will help communities to better prepare for, and more quickly recover from, damages caused by power outages during destructive weather events, with installations of cleaner distributed energy sources. Learn more about this project at www.resilient-power.org.

In addition to the six project grants, DOER has awarded 27 technical assistance grants to communities seeking funding to design resilient power projects.  The communities receiving technical assistance awards may apply for project implementation grants in a second solicitation to be issued later this year. More details can be found at http://www.mass.gov/eea/energy-utilities-clean-tech/renewable-energy/resiliency-initiative.html.