New Jersey, feds eye microgrid for NJ Transit

Written by Douglas John Bowen

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and U.S. Secretary of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced plans for "NJ TransitGrid" Monday, Aug. 26, 2013, to make passenger rail infrastructure in the Garden State more self-sustaining and flexible in the face of future emergencies.

Christie and Moniz (photo at left) made the announcement at NJ Transit’s Secaucus Junction Station, located on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor.

The Department of Energy (DOE) will tap Sandia National Laboratories to help design a localized electric grid for NJ Transit, which would make rail infrastructure (such as catenary power supply) more self-reliant if other portions of the national grid fail or prove inadequate.

DOE, along with NJT and the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, will sponsor a study of NJT’s rail system energy needs and the “conceptual design” for a microgrid, which would power the network around Newark, Secaucus, and Hoboken, along with critical stations and maintenance facilities.

Christie, in a statement, said the microgrid could help keep trains running during a natural disaster or make their use more available for evacuation purposes or other emergencies.

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