The anniversary of Tropical Storm Irene, one of the two 2011 storms that knocked out power to millions of Connecticut residents, is right around the corner. But Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and state officials didn’t want anyone to forget they’re doing something about the possibility of another extended outage.
“There is no state in the nation doing more on the issue right now . . . on the issue of climate change and getting to cheaper, cleaner, and more reliable energy than the state of Connecticut,” Malloy told a group of seniors citizens Wednesday at the Parkville Senior Center in Hartford.
He said the state is the first in the nation to have a statewide microgrid program.
A microgrid is a small power plant that’s usually fueled with natural gas or a fuel cell and allows a town center to continue operating when power is out. The Parkville Senior Center where Wednesday’s event was held was chosen as one of nine locations for state-funded microgrid projects. The state plans to build a $2.06 million, 600 kw natural gas turbine to power the senior center, library, supermarket, and gas station when the power goes out.
White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley attended Wednesday’s event and said extreme weather events threaten public health and safety and it’s only expected to get worse.
“Power outages cost our economy billions of dollars and they disrupt our lives,” Sutley said. “. . . Unfortunately, we’re seeing more of these kinds of extreme weather events that are the leading cause of power outages.”
In 2012, the cost of weather disasters in the United States exceeded $110 billion. In 2011, there was a record 14 natural disasters that each caused $1 billion or more in damages, she said.
Earlier this week, the White House released a new report on the importance of projects that improve the reliability of the electricity grid. The report found that weather-related power outages cost the nation between $18 billion and $33 billion a year, Sutley said.
President Barack Obama set forth his Climate Action Plan in to reduce carbon emissions and improve the reliability of the electricity grid in June.