Camden County Takes Steps to Get Off the Grid

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The Camden County Municipal Authority (CCMUA) is entering the final phase of a three-part project that will take Camden County completely off the electricity grid by 2019.

“We’re just really excited about what this project will mean for the environment and for the community,” said executive director of the CCMUA, Andrew Kricun.

Going off the grid means that their plant will be 100-percent energy independent, which is essential for enduring a major weather event.

“Recent climatic events have proven with a vengeance the need to ensure the resiliency of our infrastructure,” said Freeholder Jeffrey Nash.

After Hurricane Sandy ravaged the New Jersey coast, the Christie administration made it a priority to protect the environment and citizens in the event of another Hurricane hit and helped provide funds to do so.

“You need only look at the situation down in Puerto Rico to see how important it is that they are resilient and able to come back after a storm and during a storm," said Dianne Solomon, commissioner of the Board of Public Utilities.

One completed phase of the project includes solar paneling that yields 1.8 megawatts of electricity. 

Another phase currently underway is a sludge digester that will yield four megawatts of electricity.

The final phase is a microgrid sustainability loop, which is being built in partnership with Coventa Camden Energy Recovery Center.

Recent climatic events have proven with a vengeance the need to ensure the resiliency of our infrastructure.

“They [Covanta] have an abundance of energy but need some water, we’re the reverse, so it is really a marriage made in heaven and we’re really glad to be partnering with them," said Kricun.

This phase will not only provide the final four megawatts of the electricity needed to reach independence from the grid, but will save one million gallons of water per day.

“You figure this is the largest power user in the county," said Freeholder Jonathan Young. "It just draws an enormous amount of power and for us to go off grid. So if Maria comes in, if another hurricane comes into town, you just think about it…if your plant gets wiped out and electricity goes, we’re still up and running."

The utility says this project saves water, reduces bacteria levels in the Delaware River, provides energy during a storm, and does it all while saving ratepayers money. 

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Recommended: State Officials Announce Start of Camden Microgrid Study

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