The New Jersey Community Microgrids Planning Academy has been created to educate municipal officials, their staffs and other interested stakeholders on the value and potential feasibility of developing community microgrids in their jurisdictions. The site is specifically designed to:
• Explain – and demystify – what community microgrids are;
• Describe their potential economic and resilience benefits;
• Delineate the series of steps needed to develop, implement and manage a microgrid; and
• Prepare municipal officials to more effectively engage with the growing level of microgrid
development activity across the state.
The site is organized into five core topic areas, designed to be accessed in sequence for maximum
The Basics section provides an introduction to what microgrids are and how they work, organized into
four modules: (i) What is a Microgrid; (ii) Benefits and Challenges; (iii) Key Components; and (iv) Technologies.
Review this section first to get a better understanding of microgrids in general and community
microgrids in particular.
The Development section provides a high level overview of all the steps necessary to
develop, build and operate a Microgrid. Review this section next to better understand all the activities – and all the participants – involved in developing and implementing a community Microgrid.
The Planning section reviews a series of critical first steps needed to create a successful microgrid
development plan: Project Initiation; Preliminary Site Identification; First-Level Screening; Second-
Level Screening and Microgrid Development Plan. Review this section third – after Basics and Development – to better understand this key element in the Microgrid development process.
Planning is the stage where municipal jurisdictions typically have a high level of involvement – can have a great deal of impact – in the process of shaping a strategy for a successful microgrid for their community, so it is recommended that this section be reviewed in detail.
The Tutorials section provides a series of presentations that feature experts in specific Microgrid topic areas.
Access this section to go deeper on a specific topic identified in the Basics, Development, or Planning sections.
The Resources section contains a curated list of publications and web sites that provide additional
information on Microgrids. Access this section at any time for additional information on a range of Microgrid topics and subject areas.
The Community Microgrids Planning Academy was created by a multi-disciplinary team led by the Center for Resilient Design (CRD) at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and supported by Greener by Design, LLC and the Regional Plan Association. The project was funded through a grant from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development managed by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs Office of Local Planning Services.
Project Team Organizations
NJIT Center for Resilient Design
The Center for Resilient Design at NJIT was established to inform and implement a resilient post-Sandy recovery in New Jersey. Through applied research, field testing and community outreach, the Center provides State and local leaders, federal agencies, business owners, nonprofit organizations and residents with new knowledge and technical expertise that address real and potential natural and man-made disasters.
Greener by Design, LLC
Greener by Design LLC is a leading sustainability, environmental and energy consulting company focused on policy, regulatory compliance and bottom line economics. With its multidisciplinary team of research, financial management and environmental planning professionals, Greener by Design brings a comprehensive understanding of the economic and policy underpinnings of a rapidly changing environmental landscape and a fresh perspective on how technology, innovation and policy will influence the market in years to come.
Regional Plan Association
RPA is America’s oldest independent urban research and advocacy organization. RPA works to
improve the prosperity, infrastructure, sustainability and quality of life of the New York-New
Jersey-Connecticut metropolitan region. Some of the region’s most significant public works,
economic development and open space projects have their roots in RPA ideas and initiatives. RPA
pursues these goals by conducting independent research, planning, advocacy and vigorous public
New Jersey Department of Community Affairs Office of Local Planning Services
New Jersey’s Office of Local Planning Services works with communities to achieve local land use
and planning goals. As part of DCA’s commitment to provide technical assistance to
municipalities, the Office’s professional planning staff offer comprehensive planning services at
no-cost to local governments. Services include supporting: Master Plans and Redevelopment
Plans, Land Use and Mapping, Economic Development Plans, and Special Municipal Projects.
Project Team Members
- Deane Evans, Program Director/Principal Investigator
- Terra Meierdierck, Program Manager
- Victoria Dollon, Program Coordinator
- Colette Santasieri, Planning Manager
- Sean Vroom, Planning Support
- Student Interns: Zohaeb Atiq, Everett Aldrich, Kristen Juan, Raychel Russillo, Michelle Lin
- Adam Zellner, President
- Gail Lalla, Vice President of Operations
- Tom Brys, Principal
- Kenneth Campbell, Energy Specialist
- Zenon Tech-Czarny, Environmental Planner
- Mike Duffy, Sustainability and Energy Specialist
- Genevieve Tarino, Associate
- Debra Hinlicky, Operations Manager
- Rena Pinas, Associate
- Carol Mendez, Senior Project Manager
- Rob Freudenberg, Program Director
- James Finch, Program Support
- Sean Thompson, Director
- Keith Henderson, Director of Policy and Planning
- Tom Stanuikynas, Senior Planner
The Tutorials section of the site offers a series of expert discussions of significant Community Microgrids topics.
Brief bios of the experts presenting these tutorials are provided here:
Matthew Brener is an engineer and infrastructure economist for BRS, Inc. He completed his undergraduate work in Civil Engineering at Louisiana State University (Go Tigers!) and a Masters of Science in Economics at Drexel University. He currently lives and works in Philadelphia, PA in a house he shares with his cat and a black Labrador named “Penny”.
Bill Broadhurst is Princeton’s Campus Energy Manager responsible for developing and delivering capital energy projects, control system optimization platforms and metering dashboards. He also manages day to day operations and long term planning of multiple HVAC control networks and the control room operations call center. Before Princeton, Bill spent 13 years at an engineering firm starting as a field engineer and rising to an operations manager.
Tom Brys, a Principal at Greener by Design, has 20 years of diverse experience in the identification, development and implementation of energy management technology projects. He has served hundreds of clients ranging from municipal energy aggregations and cooperatives to large Fortune 100 Pharmaceutical companies. He has managed and authored multiple Sustainable Energy Master Plans and provided technical consulting for over 300 Mega-watts of photovoltaic projects in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Mr. Brys served as past president of the New Jersey Association of Energy Engineers and currently serves on the Board of Directors.
Robert Freudenberg is Vice President of RPA’s energy and environmental programs, leading the organization’s initiatives in areas including climate mitigation and adaptation, open space conservation and park development, and water resource management. He oversees a comprehensive program of projects and policies to improve public health, quality of life, sustainable development and climate resilience in the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut metropolitan area.
With nearly 20 years of experience in the energy engineering and consulting industry, Saverio has managed onsite commissioning, testing, troubleshooting, balancing and analysis for a wide range of HVAC equipment and systems. Saverio is a past board member of the Building Commissioning Association and has been instrumental in defining energy legislation to assist NYC’s Carbon Reduction goals.
Gail Lalla is Vice President of Operations of Greener by Design. She uses her expertise in budgeting, planning, communication skills and team motivation to keep each client project on track for timely and efficient results. When she was GbD’s Senior Project Manager, she navigated the myriad of incentives available, investigated current policy changes, and vetted data collection for several redevelopment projects. She has notably added a marketing division, in which she has assisted clients such as Sports Art with a full launch of their energy efficient and sustainable product line of fitness equipment, Eco-POWR. She has successfully led efforts focusing on carbon abatement plans, Energy Saving Improvement Plans with ESCOs, resiliency planning with the Kresge Foundation, and microgrid strategy with Rocky Mountain Institute.
Paul is an energy engineer with a 20-plus-year background in cogeneration, electrical power distribution and energy efficiency.
With over 43 years of government service to New Jersey municipal and state government under his belt, Marc has served as a municipal administrator, and for 26 years was with the New Jersey Division of Local Government Services, 14 of which as Deputy and occasionally as Acting Director. He is continuing to support local government officials and the public through professional education and in-service training of local officials, state and local policy study, technology policy research, consulting, support of local government professional organizations, and public service.
Joseph Sullivan has thirty four years of supervisory, management and executive experience in the energy sector. Prior to joining Concord Engineering as Vice President of Energy Policy and Development, he most recently served as Director, Division of Economic Development and Energy Policy at the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) where, while previously serving as its Business Energy Ombudsman, he established working relationships with the New Jersey business community on energy-related issues.
Zenon is an Environmental Planner and Urban Designer focused on creating more sustainable and resilient communities. He has over ten years of diverse experience working with various leading firms, organizations, institutions and individuals on a wide variety of projects. In addition to his professional work, he has also been an instructor at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy and the Rutgers Department of Landscape Architecture. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Planning & Design with a minor in Agroecology from Rutgers University and a Master of Urban Planning in Urban Design from the City University of New York (CUNY).
As President of Greener by Design since its inception, Adam is responsible for all aspects of its operations including client and partner relationships. He also serves as the company’s lead on government and finance-related work. Previously, Mr. Zellner served as Policy Director to a former Governor of New Jersey, overseeing the development of a variety of policies including energy, land use and environment. Prior to joining the Governor’s staff, he served as the Deputy Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and the former Executive Director of the New Jersey Office of Smart Growth. He served in Washington and New Jersey for several members of congress and has worked for a variety of elected and appointed officials throughout his career.