To the Editor:
As last week’s blizzard once again showed: extreme weather can come from anywhere. Therefore, our Village must stay prepared. A microgrid is a small localized electrical grid that can connect and disconnect from the larger power grid in order to enable it to operate in both grid-connected or island mode, and it can help mitigate weather emergencies and their underlying causes.
Climate change will only worsen the chance of extreme weather events. As reported by the NY Department of Environmental Conservation, rising sea levels and strong storms will cause localized floods which will threaten shoreline infrastructure and development. Rising summer air temperatures will also lead to an increase in pollution-related asthma and heat exhaustion, especially in urban areas.
Both of these should be major concerns for the Village, which is seated at the intersection of two rivers and is located in Westchester County—which already receives an F rating for air pollution from the American Lung Association.
As explained by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), local energy microgrids provide power to multiple customers, commercial customers and crucial public services such as, first responders, and water treatment facilities. Microgrids also allow for the use of clean and efficient energy sources such as storage, wind and solar, improving the environmental and economic health of the community.
It’s been almost a year since the Village received the results of NYSERDA funded Microgrid feasibility study conducted by Hitachi (available on nyserda.ny.gov) that found “the Croton Community Microgrid is both technically and economically viable…the microgrid will provide direct benefit to the entire population within Croton by protecting critical services in an area that is particularly vulnerable to storm damage. The microgrid will result in lower energy costs and lower carbon footprint for the microgrid customers.”
“It is no secret that our state continues to face an energy crisis and I applaud these communities for taking a proactive step toward energy independence…and will continue to advocate for the use of clean green energy that will reduce our carbon footprint and ease the pressure on our aging energy infrastructure,” said our State Senator, Terrence Murphy (R-Yorktown) in a 2015 statement when the feasibility study grant was awarded.
The Village missed an October 2016 deadline for a follow-up grant, worth up to $1M, to fund the cost of designing a microgrid. Nonetheless, on the basis of the findings of the feasibility study, I hope that our Village pursues this worthwhile project with all deliberate speed and have it ready for the next Irene or Sandy.