30 July 2014 —The state of New Jersey in the US is developing a distributed energy system incorporating micro-grids and technologies such as combined heat and power cogeneration, fuel cells and off-grid solar inverters with battery storage in order to improve the community’s resilience in the event of natural disaster.
Following Hurricane Sandy, which left five million residents without power, the recognition climate change would result in increased risk of similar superstorms spurred the state legislature to create an Energy Resilience Bank. The first fund of its kind in the USA, the ERB has been seeded with an initial US$200 million from the mid-Atlantic state’s Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery.
The ERB will provide capital primarily in the form of low-interest loans and grants. These will support the development of distributed energy resources at critical facilities throughout the state including hospitals, water treatment, police, emergency services and schools which can act as emergency shelters.
The New Jersey State Economic Development Authority has said the initiative will both improve disaster resilience and provide a general benefit for residents in terms of lower and more stable energy costs, a cleaner environment and improved energy efficiency.