Eversource has plans for a project in Durham to help power the University of New Hampshire campus – the second demonstration of new technologies the utility has announced this week.
Eversouce's proposal is called a microgrid. It's like an energy island that can run separately from the larger power grid, keeping the lights on even when there's an outage elsewhere.
It's the first microgrid Eversource has planned in New Hampshire, and will include solar panels, control systems and battery technology, which can hold power for later use.
In a statement, Eversource says the system “will act as an island during extreme weather, ensuring that power serving the campus and critical town facilities is not interrupted.”
A spokesman says those municipal facilities could include the local wastewater treatment plant. Further details, such as how the microgrid will connect to the landfill gas system that also helps power UNH, were not immediately available.
The project will cost $15 million. Eversource hopes to cover some of that with federal grants. The rest will go into a rate hike that's already pending approval at the state Public Utilities Commission.
Eversource also recently announced a battery project on the other side of the state, in the town of Westmoreland. The company says it wants to demonstrate and test these new technologies as part of a transition toward a cheaper, cleaner and more reliable grid.
UNH already runs on all renewable energy. But officials say this project would make their system more resilient. University researchers would also be able to study the new technology's performance.