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East Hampton studies which buildings to include in a microgrid

The first phase of a study to determine which East Hampton buildings should be included in a community microgrid has been completed and the results are expected to be presented to town board members next month.

A community microgrid would keep critical services going in the event of a power outage or other emergency.

“A microgrid has the potential to improve our renewable energy resources and it’s important to our resiliency in case of power outages,” Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell said in a telephone interview Tuesday.

Kimberly Shaw, environmental protection director for the town’s Natural Resources Department, said in a telephone interview Tuesday the presentation was originally scheduled to be made to the board this month, but that the first opportunity to be added to the agenda was March 1.

Microgrids can separate from the larger electrical grid and generate their own power. As part of the overall study, officials are also considering such factors as the costs and benefits of a community microgrid plan.

Facilities under consideration for the local energy network include East Hampton Village Emergency Services, the East Hampton Airport, East Hampton High School, the East Hampton Healthcare Foundation, the Town Hall Campus, the Montauk Fire Department and the Montauk Playhouse.

A three-member consortium that includes Johnson Controls of Syosset, the Colorado-based National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and Hitachi Consulting in Manhattan is making the recommendations for the microgrid. Hitachi will lead the discussion.

The study started in November and is being funded with a $100,000 award through the NY Prize — a three-stage competition administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to support community grid planning and development.

Engineering design and business planning will be done in stage two, and project build-out will be stage three.

Councilwoman Sylvia Overby has said that if the microgrid project “makes sense for the town” then applications would be made for additional state grants.

The community microgrid presentation will be made to the board at the 10 a.m. March 1 work session at town hall.

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