The Obama administration will provide $1 million for an effort to develop a more resilient electric grid for New Jersey’s public transit systems.

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) announced on Aug. 26 that they had signed a memorandum of understanding in which the DOE agreed to partner with New Jersey Transit, the state of New Jersey and the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to assess New Jersey Transit’s energy needs.

The DOE and Sandia National Laboratories will work with New Jersey Transit and the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to design a dynamic microgrid to power the transit system between Newark and Jersey City and Hoboken as well as critical stations and maintenance facilities.

According to state and federal officials, the project will make it easier to restore power after a major disaster and improve public safety throughout the region. Moniz noted that the New Jersey Transit system is a critical evacuation route for Manhattan.

The grid, called NJ TransitGrid, will be the first of its kind in a non-military setting in the country and may include developing, building and operating self-generation power facilities; designing, building and operating a new dedicated power grid; distributing self-generated power to New Jersey Transit’s overhead catenary wire network; and distributing self-generating power to key New Jersey Transit facilities.

Sandia Laboratories has successfully developed advanced microgrids at more than 20 military bases across the country.

“This first-of-its-kind electrical microgrid will supply highly reliable power during storms and keep our public transportation systems running during natural times of disaster, which is critical not only to our economy, but also emergency and evacuation-related activities,” said Christie in a statement.