Burns Involved in Design of New Microgrid for Amtrak

Amtrak Sunnyside Yard - photo credit: Mitch Waxman

Burns is currently working on the design of a microgrid to serve Amtrak critical operations at Penn Station and Sunnyside Yard in New York.  Burns is a subconsultant to Booz Allen Hamilton.

In the last decade, extreme weather events have flooded substations, downed power lines, taken power plants off-line and otherwise left millions of people without electricity for days or weeks at a time.  For example, in the month after Superstorm Sandy, half of Sunnyside Yard was forced to rely on portable backup generators due to a damaged transmission line.  In July 2006, about 25,000 customers in the Sunnyside Yard’s Long Island City border lost power for more than five days due to wind-related equipment failures.

The proposed microgrid will ensure critical transportation services via 17.2 MW of energy generation and 4 MWh of storage.   Five new distributed energy resources: a 6-MW combined heat and power (CHP) unit; two natural gas reciprocating generators (at 3 MW and 8 MW); a 200-kW solar photovoltaic (PV) array; and a 1 MW zinc air battery storage unit are proposed to serve as the key components of the new microgrid.

In grid-connected mode, a microgrid controller will regulate the assets and utilize the on-site supplies, whenever economical.  Should there be a detected grid-outage, generation assets will ensure continuity of train and facility operations for key Amtrak locations, as well as consider moving trains being stored in Sunnyside Yard to Penn Station.

The project was successfully awarded a NYSERDA grant for the New York Prize Stage 2, which is supporting development of advanced microgrids across New York.  As part of this grant, Burns is working on another microgrid at three hospitals in Queens.

Photo credit: Mitch Waxman 

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