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Office of Energy and SustainabilitySuperior government service with the smallest possible environmental footprint

Microgrids

Montgomery County is installing microgrids to allow key facilities to operate without any power from the utility grid, ensuring public safety and community resiliency during major storms and other disasters.

About Microgrids

Montgomery County is embracing microgrids to improve the resiliency of public facilities, reduce their environmental impact and reduce operational costs to taxpayers. Microgrids are local power systems that use clean and renewable energy sources, such as solar panels, combined heat and power systems, batteries, and advanced controllers that include built in cybersecurity on an ongoing basis. On site generation enables the system to operate independently from the electric utility in the case of an electric gird outage. When considering building microgrids, the Department of General Services focuses on facilities essential for the continuity of public services during disasters or other events when those services are needed most. The microgrid initiative was prioritized due to the County’s history with extended large-scale power outages due to major storms and the County government’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2027.

Montgomery County has finalized construction of its first two microgrids at its Public Safety Headquarters (PSHQ) in Gaithersburg and the Montgomery County Correctional Facility (MCCF) in Boyds. The County leveraged its innovative energy purchasing regulations to create a public private partnership to select a team of private entities to finance, own and operate the systems at no upfront cost to the County. These projects are a national model to improve the resiliency of local governments and are receiving national attention. They are expected to be an example to other communities looking to protect similar public services.

Both microgrid projects were completed in FY2018. PSHQ is the first microgrid of its kind to achieve PEER Platinum certification by the Green Building Certification Institute recognizing excellence in power system performance and leaders for improving efficiency, reliability, and overall resiliency. The County also won a 2018 NACo Achievement Award for the microgrid projects. Learn more about Montgomery County’s microgrid projects by watching this presentation from October 2017 given as part of a panel on Improving Resilience Through Microgrids and Battery Storage at the Edison Electric Institute in Washington, DC.

Environmental and Financial Benefits

Montgomery County has entered into an innovative public-private partnership that allows the microgrids to be installed without any upfront costs to the County. These two sites are anticipated to generate over 11 kWh of electricity, enough to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as much as taking over 1,400 cars off the road or planting more than 178,000 trees. The microgrids also will ensure that the County can continue to provide critical services to the community during major storms and other external events. See the graph for actual generation within one day at PSHQ. During the middle part of the day, enough electricity is generated on-site to export into the public utility grid.

Projects

Public Safety Headquarters

Public Safety Headquarters, Gaithersburg

The microgrid project is expected to generate 9.6 million kilowatt hours of clean and low emissions energy with the solar canopies and CHP system combined. Ground breaking began in July 2017 with project completion in September 2018. More…

Montgomery County Correctional Facility

Montgomery County Correctional Facility, Boyds

This microgrid project is expected to generate over 1.7 million kilowatt hours of clean and low emissions energy. Ground breaking began in January 2018 with project completion in September 2018. More…

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