For the Village of Potsdam, NY, power outages from ice storms are the norm. In the town of about 20,000 near the Canadian border, winter weather regularly damages utility lines and other above-ground power infrastructure. That’s why GE has teamed up with the National Grid, the Department of Energy (DoE) and Clarkson University to develop an Enhanced Microgrid Control System (eMCS). The underground system will bring power sources online so they can be managed more effectively.

The project aims to keep the town’s electricity system functioning for days if it’s disconnected from the main power station. GE will build the microgrid control system to bring power sources, including renewables like solar and thermal, online.

“Together, GE’s control system, and the underground microgrid envisioned for the Potsdam community, could serve as a model for towns and cities across the country that are susceptible to weather disasters and blackouts,” Sumit Bose, principal investigator on the project and microgrid technology leader at GE Global Research, said in a press release.

The system will also tie together different entities that respond to utility issues in emergency situations, including emergency service providers, utilities, power generation sources, and housing, fuel and food suppliers.

The microgrid project includes 18 months of design and research at GE Global Research followed by a 6-month testing period.

h/t: GE Global Research