Buffalo, New York Medical Microgrid - NY Prize

The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC) secured $1 million in funding from the New York Energy and Research Development Authority’s (NYSERDA) NY Prize to deploy a microgrid project to serve vital medical facilities in Buffalo, New York. The project will serve 12,000 employees and growing, as well as many of the city’s vital medical facilities including nine health care, life science research, and education facilities including New York’s only freestanding pediatric health facility, the John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital. Those served would also include portions of the adjacent Fruit Belt low income residential neighborhood that share common electric infrastructure. BNMC’s proposal emphasized the importance of enabling the health & cancer research facilities to maintain 100% service quality during extended interruptions and relied on the Industrial Economics, Inc. (IEc) model costs benefit analysis to estimate the value of microgrids for critical services. The competition was created by the state to spur microgrid development in light of climate change impacts and the microgrid design calls for use a combination of Combined Heat and Power (CHP) and renewables, such as solar, energy storage, alternative fuel/generation, and controllable loads. The microgrid is a part of the initiative to upgrade and redevelop the campus and its surrounding communities all while engaging the community and working with the Community Action Organization of surrounding communities to identify priority investment area by residents, build on existing neighborhood assets by planning a multipurpose community center, collaborative workforce development strategy,  and establishing a land bank program a for example.

In calculating the value of resilience, BNMC included a cost-benefit analysis using a model developed by IEc, which draws on several different valuation methods. The IEc model includes an estimate of the benefits for avoiding major power interruptions, which it breaks into two categories: the benefits of maintaining commercial and industrial services, and the benefits of maintaining critical services. To determine the benefit of maintaining critical services, the model uses the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Benefit-Cost Analysis (BCA) approach, which incorporates damage cost methodology which uses site specific information as well as some standardized equations to estimate the costs. The costs associated with criticals services are based on assumptions about the value of lives saved and injuries prevented. The model showed that there would need to be at least 7 hours of interruption each year for the microgrid benefits to exceed its costs. benefits were calculated for a variety of categories including “Major Power Outage Benefits” and the 20 year net present value of these benefits was estimated to be $22.4 million assuming seven hours of interruption annually. The FEMA BCA framework revealed preference for this microgrid is the damage cost methods and relied on several damage functions which estimated the impacts of the interruption on survival probability, additional travel time to hospitals, patient waiting time, and cardiac arrest fatality rates.


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