Connecticut Microgrid and Resilience Grant and Loan Pilot Program

In September 2020, the Connecticut legislature passed the Microgrid and Resilience Grant and Loan Pilot Program (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 16-243y). The act expands the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s authority to fund resilience projects, in addition to microgrids. The act supports the creation of climate change resilience projects in Connecticut.

After Hurricane Isaias hit Connecticut in September 2020, the Connecticut legislature held a special session to pass the expanded act. The act broadens the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s microgrid grant and loan program by allowing the state to also fund resilience projects. The microgrid and loan program was created in 2012 after several severe weather events resulted in extensive power outages in Connecticut.

The program is aimed at supporting “local distributed energy generation for critical facilities” and making sure that critical facilities do not lose power when electrical grid outages occur. In addition, the resilience projects can allow Connecticut to effectively prepare, adapt, and quickly recover from the impacts of climate change. Through the new, expanded program, the state can provide the following types of support: 

  1. Community planning that includes, but is not limited to, microgrid or resilience project feasibility, including benefit-cost analyses; 
  2. The cost of design, engineering services and interconnection infrastructure for any such microgrid . . . or resilience project; 
  3. Matching funds or low-interest loans for an energy storage system or systems . . . or distributed energy generation projects; and 
  4. Non-federal cost share for grant or loan applications for projects or programs that include microgrids or resilience. 

The act also requires the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection “to prioritize funding proposals that benefit vulnerable communities.” The act defines “vulnerable communities” as “populations that may be disproportionately impacted by the effects of climate change.” The act states that vulnerable communities include: 

  1. Low-and moderate-income communities; 
  2. Environmental justice communities; 
  3. Communities eligible for community reinvestment; 
  4. Populations with increased risk and limited means to adapt to the effects of climate change; or 
  5. As further defined by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection in consultation with community representatives.

The act states that the program can take project proposals from municipalities, electric distribution companies, municipal electric utilities, energy improvement districts, nonprofit, academic, and private organizations. The act also permits the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to hire a consultant to help implement the program.

Publication Date: September 2020

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