Microgrid District Project Now Open for Proposals from Developers

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Miranda Pomiecko: (216) 698-2546; mpomiecko@cuyahogacounty.us 

Will Provide Power for Vital Services and Facilities in Event of Electrical Outage

– Cuyahoga County, the City of Cleveland, Cleveland Public Power and the Cleveland Foundation jointly issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for developers interested in constructing a microgrid in Downtown Cleveland, making it the first district-wide system in the country. Microgrids can generate electricity, heating and cooling, distribute energy and manage energy consumption using “smart” technology.

As the main grid ages, storms become more powerful and damaging, and threats of cybersecurity become more prevalent, greater needs exist to protect key data and electrical infrastructure. The goal of the microgrid is to provide highly resilient power to businesses and commercial entities that need it. Microgrids provide a reliable energy source, as they ensure power is not lost when the main grid is offline. Controller and communications architecture of microgrids also identify and manage power variability issues such as voltage sags and surges to ensure the delivery of qualitatively consistent electricity.

“The implications of a microgrid are huge,” said County Executive Armond Budish. “If the main electric grid comes down, businesses could be shut down for hours, days or even weeks, resulting in catastrophic costs. This microgrid will offer businesses 99.999 percent reliability and the guarantee that they would not suffer downtime any longer than five minutes per year. This is an exciting venture that will further our goal of being one of the most reliable, resilient and sustainable counties in the country.”

“The microgrid project would be a unique opportunity and fits in with Cleveland Public Power’s mission and vision of providing reliable energy and energy service. This RFQ stage is critical, but it is important to attract the right partner to develop the project. We look forward to seeing the result of the RFQ process and determining our next steps,” said City of Cleveland Director of Public Utilities, Robert Davis.

The goal is to choose a developer by April 2020 and build out is expected to take a few years.

“The Cleveland Foundation believes the microgrid will serve as a significant economic development driver for Cuyahoga County and the City of Cleveland as the need for reliable and resilient electricity increasingly becomes a bottom-line calculation for many businesses and institutions,” said President & CEO of the Cleveland Foundation, Ronn Richard. “America’s electrical grid is in a vulnerable state and we have an incredible opportunity to leverage our municipal utility and develop the largest microgrid district in the nation, all connected through sensors, battery storage and cyber security technology.”

“The Downtown Cleveland Microgrid District will reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions being released into our region while also creating a more resilient delivery of electricity,”
said Director of Sustainability, Mike Foley. “Climate Change is creating more extreme weather conditions, so having this asset is extremely valuable. This is also the opportunity for us to be innovative and create something that has never been done to this scale before.”

Parties interested in the RFQ can visit http://sustainability.cuyahogacounty.us/en-US/Microgrid.aspx.