The Hartford Courant
By BRIAN DOWLING, firstname.lastname@example.org
MIDDLETOWN — The head of Wesleyan University‘s physical plant on Tuesday walked into the small electrical switching station that links a more than a quarter of the campus’s buildings to the electric grid.
“If I flip this switch it goes dark,” said Alan Rubacha, his hand almost touching a nearby breaker panel.
In October 2011, he did hit the switch, when a massive snowstorm knocked out power for hundreds of thousands of people in Connecticut, including those in Middletown and at Wesleyan. The simple move cut the campus from the power grid and turned the university over to an on-site gas generator for electricity.
That back-up power situation, called “island mode” or “black start,” is the central working principal of microgrids, which the state has embraced after repeated major storm-related outages in recent years. Read more…