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New Jersey to build storm-resilient grid for its transit system

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Department of Energy and the state of New Jersey announced plans on Monday to design a small electric grid that will serve the state's transit system and withstand the onslaught of storms like Superstorm Sandy.

The micro grid will power the transit system's rail operations between Newark, Jersey City and Hoboken in New Jersey.

It will be designed by the energy department's Sandia National Laboratories, which has worked on such grids for the U.S. military.

The cost and start date of the project were not announced.

The grid's generation capacity will exceed 50 megawatts, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said during a presentation at New York City's Columbia University.

The project will make a key part of the northeast energy infrastructure resilient to changes brought on by climate change, Moniz added.

"It's not just about building sea-walls, as important as that may be, or about elevating structures close to the sea," Moniz said. "It's also about building smart as we rebuild the infrastructure."

New Jersey sustained a severe blow when Sandy made landfall in late October. Power losses and fuel shortages rocked the region with gas stations unable to pump fuel without electricity.

The storm also cost New Jersey Transit an estimated $400 million, following an erroneous decision to store trains in a low-lying rail yard that was later flooded.

(Reporting by Selam Gebrekidan; Editing by Leslie Gevirtz)

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