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Energy network proposed to alleviate power demand on South Fork

A New England energy developer is proposing a network of solar-energy arrays, large batteries, back-up generators and devices that lower users’ electrical use to help PSEG Long Island alleviate growing power demand on the South Fork.

Anbaric Microgrid II, a Wakefield, Mass., company whose affiliate Anbaric Transmission is proposing a new undersea power cable called Poseidon to LIPA, offered the package of high-tech-managed power alternatives in response to a recent bid request by PSEG.

The project proposes 25 megawatts of combined resources to help meet PSEG’s need for 63 megawatts of new capacity on the South Fork by 2022. The utility seeks to alleviate a peak-load increase that is expected to soar 19.2 percent in the next six years, from 286 megawatts in 2015 to 341 megawatts by 2022. A megawatt powers around 800 homes.

Anbaric’s is one of more than three dozen proposals to help alleviate the South Fork power squeeze, which occurs primarily during the summer peak season between the hours of 1 p.m. and 9 p.m. Among other proposals previously reported by Newsday are a 15-turbine wind farm and an array of fuel cells.

PSEG has structured the bid request to comply with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision initiative, which seeks green-energy alternatives to traditional resources. On the South Fork, PSEG would otherwise meet the additional demand by adding power high-voltage power lines at a price of nearly $300 million. Anbaric said its solution is “priced at a discount” to that figure.

Anbaric’s proposal seeks to alleviate the peak-power squeeze by offering three so-called microgrids, centered with equipment at the North Sea transfer station on Majors Path, at the East Hampton Airport on Daniels Hole Road in Wainscott, and at a recycling center on Montauk Highway in Montauk.

All but the last would have solar arrays in combination with large storage batteries and devices that automatically adjust thermostats and other appliances during peak times to reduce electric demand. Anbaric also plans to back up its power sources with natural-gas-generating units.

“We want to create ‘a utility on top of a utility,’” the company said in material submitted for the bid request. The system would be controlled by management software that makes certain that renewable sources such as solar and demand reduction are relied on first to meet peak energy requirements. “Only as a last resort, we will fire up back-up generators in case all other resources are unavailable.”

PSEG spokesman Jeff Weir declined to comment on the Anbaric proposal but said all submitted proposals are “under evaluation.”

“Maximizing renewables is our goal; insuring reliability is our mandate,” Anbaric said in a statement. “We look forward to working with local officials and community groups to move our project forward while meeting these vital objectives.”

Lynn A. Arthur, a member of the energy subcommittee of Southampton Town’s sustainability committee, said the renewable energies would be welcome, but the plan for fossil-fuel powered generators would be problematic.

“Any proposal that has fossil fuel as part of the configuration is going to meet with resistance,” Arthur said.

PSEG last month also released a request for proposals for other regions that face capacity contraints: Far Rockaway and Glenwood Landing, the site of two former National Grid power plants.

Anbaric is described as a “sister company” of Viridity Energy, a company co-founded by Public Service Commission chairwoman Audrey Zibelman. Last year, the PSC said Zibleman need not recuse herself from state decisions involving Anbaric because she has “no financial interest” in the company, and no longer has stock in Viridity.


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