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What is a Microgrid?


 

  • Creation of Cuyahoga Green Energy: In fall of 2021, Cuyahoga County established Cuyahoga Green Energy, a new energy utility focused entirely on renewable energy and resiliency.
  • Purpose of Cuyahoga Green Energy: To provide clean, reliable, and locally produced energy to customers through the development of district microgrids.
  • Features of District Microgrids:
    • Small-scale local electricity systems capable of operating independently from the main grid.
    • During normal operations, these microgrids connect to and draw power from the main grid.
    • They also harness power from local solar arrays and various other renewable energy sources.
  • Operational Resilience:
    • In power outages, control systems enable these microgrids to disconnect from the main grid and operate in "island mode", ensuring an uninterrupted electricity supply.
  • Community Microgrids Over Traditional Microgrids:
    • Cuyahoga Green Energy’s community microgrids are designed to serve multiple interconnected customers, unlike traditional microgrids that serve single or a few adjacent customers.
    • Customers will share resources such as solar panels and batteries for more strategic use of energy.
  • Initial and Future Plans for District Microgrids:
    • The first district microgrids will primarily serve commercial and industrial customers.
    • Future expansions will include schools, grocery stores, fire departments, and other vital community facilities

FAQs

Q: How do microgrids keep the lights on during power outages?

A: Microgrids disconnect themselves from the main grid and rely on local generation sources, such as solar, wind, and/or natural gas, and battery back-up systems.

 

Q: Who uses microgrids?

A: Microgrids are used by a range of facilities — including communities, hospitals, universities, businesses, military installations, critical facilities (such as fire stations), airports, and government buildings.

 

Q: Are microgrids new?

A: Although microgrids have been around for decades, microgrid technology has matured over the past 5-10 years.

 

Q: What does a microgrid look like?

A: The visible part of a microgrid may include solar panels, wind turbines, natural gas generators, other forms of local generation, and batteries. To maximize reliability, microgrid power lines are typically buried underground. The microgrid controller, which is the “brains” of the microgrid is a software-based system that manages energy supply within the microgrid.

 

Q: How do I become a customer of CGE?

A: Cuyahoga County has identified an initial set of pilot projects that will be deployed over the next five years. Once this first set of projects is established, the County will expand the number and size of its microgrid districts.