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HARTFORD, CT-Seattle and Northern California may be the more obvious locations when the subject of energy innovation comes up, but a pair of industry firsts announced last week had their origins in New England. The Malloy administration unveiled the nation’s first statewide microgrid pilot program, covering nine municipalities across Connecticut, while Boston-based WinnCos. has launched the Open Market ESCO, a pilot program for multifamily operators that will finance energy-efficient retrofits for an estimated 1,200 units of low-income housing.

Connecticut’s microgrid program, intended to devise ways of keeping critical buildings powered during grid outages, mixes both conventional and alternative energy sources such as solar. Among the government services and businesses that the program hopes to help keep the lights on during extreme weather events such as a future Sandy are police, fire, and emergency response teams; hospitals and healthcare facilities; state and town emergency response centers; grocery stores; and gas stations.

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