Major tropical storms pose a high risk to critical infrastructure on the East Coast of the United States. For instance, in 2012, Superstorm Sandy caused extensive physical damage in New Jersey and New York, including a substantial power outage. In addition to the resulting public safety issues, vital rail transportation that link New Jersey and New York were severely disrupted, causing significant economic impacts to the region.
Following Superstorm Sandy, rebuild efforts led by rail operators, including the NJ Transit Corporation, focused on protecting transportation infrastructure against physical damage. Recognizing the dependence on electricity supply, NJ Transit Corporation proposed the development of a resilient transportation microgrid called NJ TransitGrid, a first-of-its-kind microgrid capable of keeping the power running during a grid outage.
The conceptual design for the microgrid resulted from a collaboration among NJ Transit Corporation, the NJ Board of Public Utilities, the Department of Energy, and DOE’s Sandia National Laboratories. They used Sandia's Energy Surety Design Methodology, which optimizes the use of distributed energy resources and smart grid technologies, with consideration of physical and cyber security, to develop the conceptual design.
The collaboration led to a $410 million grant from the Federal Transportation Administration to deploy the microgrid. When completed, the NJ TransitGrid will comprise a large-scale gas-fired power plant capable of generating more than 100 megawatts and a host of distributed energy technologies, including solar power, combined heat and power, electric vehicles, demand response, and energy storage. It will also service critical transportation assets operated by the NJ Transit Corporation and Amtrak. Finally, it will supply energy and ancillary services to the grid during normal conditions, and enhanced energy resilience during localized or regional grid outages.