The Christie Administration today announced $25 million in allocations of federal Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funds to 146 municipalities, counties and other government units to pursue creative and cost-effective alternatives to enhance statewide energy resilience. The program is part of the Christie Administration's efforts to rebuild stronger after Superstorm Sandy and is targeted at critical facilities throughout the state, including police and fire stations, shelters, emergency operations centers, and wastewater treatment plants, among others.
"Reliable energy is vitally important during emergencies and making the state's critical assets more resilient in the face of extreme weather events and other hazards is a central recovery goal," said Governor Christie. "I thank our federal agency partners for continuing to work with us to collaborate with New Jersey communities on the best ways to keep the power on at essential public facilities."
The grant allocations, which range up to $734,880, can be used to support a variety of alternative energy solutions -- including microgrids, solar power with battery back-up, and natural gas-powered emergency generators -- technologies that will allow critical facilities to operate even if the power grid fails.
The energy allocations result from an ongoing collaboration between New Jersey, the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). NREL designed a survey on energy use which was disseminated to critical facilities and assets throughout the state that requested funding from the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. Municipalities and other government entities were asked to supply detailed information on energy usage, the impact of Superstorm Sandy's electrical outages on facility operations, and other information. Based on this detailed information, the national laboratory then prepared a locally-tailored analysis identifying building-specific technologies available to support energy resilience. Communities will have the benefit of the national laboratory's analysis in deciding how to best use their energy allocation funding. In addition, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities will provide ongoing technical assistance and outreach seminars are scheduled for later this month.
Representatives from various state agencies, including the Office of Emergency Management, Office of Homeland Security & Preparedness, Department of Environmental Protection and the Board of Public Utilities also analyzed requests by municipalities and counties submitted to the HMGP that included an energy project. Objective criteria -- including population size and density, National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) participation, FEMA Public Assistance data and other relevant factors -- were used as a guide to identify those energy resilience projects that have the best potential to serve the greatest need in the event of a future disaster or other event impacting the larger electrical grid. Those facilities that serve critical life-safety or other life-sustaining functions were prioritized.