Energy secretary Ernest Moniz and New Jersey governor Chris Christie announced a partnership to design a smart microgrid system to keep public transportation in the Newark, Jersey City, and Hoboken areas running when the central grid goes down. Sandia National Laboratories, whose microgrid designs are in place at more than 20 US military bases, will design the microgrid for NJ Transit, the nation’s third-largest public transportation system, carrying 900 000 passengers daily.

The project, announced on 26 August, has the stated goal of increasing the resiliency and reliability of electricity needed to power trains, stations, and other transportation facilities. Last year’s Superstorm Sandy caused severe flooding and damage to the transit agency’s infrastructure and trains and demonstrated the need for such an initiative.

The microgrid could employ existing railroad rights of way to transmit power between generation sites, facilities, and rail lines in Jersey City, Kearny, Secaucus, Hoboken, Harrison, and...

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