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Operational and Strategic Partner Selected for County Utility; Microgrid Project Advances

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Media contact(s):
Devyn Giannetti: (216) 225-9813; dgiannetti@cuyahogacounty.us


CUYAHOGA COUNTY, OH - Cuyahoga County has selected a national thought leader in microgrid development strategy to establish the County Utility beginning in 2023.


Compass Energy Platform has been selected as the Operational and Strategic Partner for the County’s new utility after an RFQ was released in October 2022.


Compass Energy Platform will put together technical standards for developers, bill customers, create reports for regional and national grid operators, assist with financing projects, and generally be the first point of contact for the nuts-and-bolts operations of the utility.


Compass will fund their start-up and operational expenses, and, along with individual project developers, will fund the construction of microgrid projects, recouping their investment from tariffs and/or power purchase agreements with end users.


“The County will benefit greatly from working with Compass Energy Platform, based on their extensive experience putting together hundreds of utility scale electrical projects,” said County Executive Armond Budish. “They have a strong team ready to establish the utility in 2023 and their wealth of knowledge will lend to the creation of a sustainable power source for Cuyahoga County.”


“Given the pace of climate change, we need to find ways to scale up resilience quickly to preserve lives and community well-being. Cuyahoga County is an innovative leader in this respect, taking a bold step by creating the first Microgrid Utility in the U.S.,” said Company Energy Platform CEO Rick Bolton. “The Compass team is so excited to be a part of this effort. As the County’s Utility Partner, we look forward to establishing the Utility and to defining its initial microgrid projects. We anticipate that the County Microgrid Utility will serve as a model for other communities in their efforts to adapt to climate change.”


This selection complements additional progress made to develop the County Utility. Recently, the County received a $1.5 million earmark from Senator Sherrod Brown, the second allotment made over the last two federal budget cycles. Totaling $1.8 million, the first earmark is for $300,000 to design a microgrid district in the Aerozone region. The latest earmark will be used to assist with infrastructure build out for a microgrid district in Euclid around an industrial corridor South of I-90 along E. 222nd St.


While physical operations of any microgrid project are not anticipated until 2024 at the earliest, the County has also begun soliciting agreements with cities where projects could be developed. As of December 2022, Euclid, Cleveland Heights, Brooklyn, and Brook Park have all passed legislation enabling the County Utility to operate within their boundaries.


Additionally, the County is applying to receive funds though the Grid Innovation Program, a $1.8 billion federal grant within the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill that will fund innovative ideas and projects related to grid resiliency and renewable generation.


“A lot of great foundational work has been done in 2022 for our new County Utility,” said Cuyahoga County Sustainability Director Mike Foley. “With the help of a Utility Operator like Compass, and great consultants like Go Sustainable Energy and Cleveland State’s Energy Policy Center as well as wonderful support from Senator Sherrod Brown, our hope is that we will be a national leader in the coming decades in creating resilient and clean energy microgrid districts.”