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Two WNY sites among ‘microgrid’ study

New York state is awarding $500,000 to study whether to build energy microgrids, which provide power backup for community networks during extreme weather or another emergency, at five sites across the state including two in Western New York.

The NY Prize Community Microgrid Competition is providing $100,000 each to pay for the feasibility studies at five locations, including on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus in downtown Buffalo and in the village of Westfield in Chautauqua County. The other recipients are the villages of Bath, in Steuben County, and Sherburne, in Chenango County, as well as the East Hampton area of Long Island.

The money for the studies is the first phase of the state’s $40 million microgrid competition. The state is planning to pay for about 25 of the feasibility studies and still is accepting applications for this funding through May 15.

In the second phase, eight to 10 of the initial projects will receive $500,000 to $1 million each to pay for detailed design and engineering work. Finally, the competition will award up to $7 million each to pay to construct at least five of the microgrids. Applications for the second and third phases will be available this summer.

Typical microgrids serve one user, but the state wants to encourage the development of microgrids that provide clean and affordable energy to multiple business and residential users.

The competition is administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, with support from the governor’s Office of Storm Recovery.

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