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Schneider Electric and Duke Energy to Set Microgrids in Maryland

published: 2017-02-03 15:59

Schneider Electric, the global specialist in energy management and automation, and Duke Energy Renewables announced an agreement to deploy two advanced microgrids to serve the Montgomery County, Maryland, Public Safety Headquarters (PSHQ) and Correctional Facility.

Critical public safety facilities require 24/7 access to power to ensure operational integrity. Through this innovative public-private partnership, Montgomery County will build two advanced microgrids, including power system upgrades and advanced controls. The microgrids will help ensure more reliable and efficient power, and improve resiliency for Montgomery County following major storms and other natural disasters.

Improvements include upgrades in infrastructure at PSHQ and Montgomery County Correctional Facility, as well as clean on-site power generation through a solar energy system and natural gas generators that enable uninterrupted public services during emergencies. Often called "island mode operation," this functionality allows facilities to intentionally, or automatically, separate from the electric grid and continue to operate at, or near, normal capacity for extended periods during power outages.

"I am pleased we are making significant strides in several of our key priorities—sustainability, safety and security," said County Executive Isiah Leggett. "Microgrids and other upgrades to critical facilities improve the County's resiliency, so we can keep residents safe and provide needed services even in the event of prolonged power outages."

By funding and developing both microgrids through Schneider Electric's innovative Microgrid-as-a-Service (MaaS) business model, Montgomery County can complete construction without any up-front costs to the County. A special power purchase agreement helps pay for the microgrids through lower cost, clean energy generation.

"The way we finance these types of resiliency projects is a national model for other local governments and the private sector," said Department of General Services Director David Dise. "Rather than buying the microgrid system outright, the County partners with a private entity that owns, operates and maintains the system. The County then purchases the electricity and heat generated. This model allows us to further modernize and improve the capabilities of our facilities at low or no cost while also reducing our environmental impact."

Schneider Electric will play a comprehensive role in designing and implementing this solution, including: microgrid protection control and optimization, electrical equipment, distributed energy resource (DER) management, electrical design services, cybersecurity and network design. Duke Energy Renewables will own both advanced microgrids, and its affiliate, REC Solar, will build the solar system. Schneider Electric will also assist Duke Energy Renewables in the operation of the microgrids.

"It's more important than ever to meet customers' evolving needs through solutions that are creative, affordable and dependable," said Rob Caldwell, president, Duke Energy Renewables and Distributed Energy Technology. "With more than 100 years of utility experience and an established renewables business, we bring the expertise in generating cleaner energy that will serve to increase the security and sustainability for these county facilities."

Implementing new distributed energy resources at the PSHQ and Correctional Facility campuses will help reduce greenhouse gases and the County's dependence on fossil fuels. The microgrids will produce approximately 3.3 million kilowatt hours of solar energy each year, equivalent to powering about 400 average homes each year. The systems also will include 7.4 million kilowatt hours of combined heat and power each year, which saves energy by using waste heat from on-site power generation to heat and cool the buildings. Combined, the on-site power generation at these two facilities is anticipated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 3,629 metric tons each year, as much as taking 767 cars off the road. The advanced microgrids include technologies to enable predictive management and optimization of energy usage during grid connected and island modes.

"By deploying advanced microgrids, Montgomery County is directing its energy future. This underscores our approach to innovate at every level of our offer, both in the technology and the financial structure," said Phillip Barton, Director of Schneider Electric Microgrid Competency Center. "Using the Schneider Electric Microgrid-as-a-Service offer removes the up-front cost hurdles for Montgomery County, while increasing resiliency, efficiency and sustainability."

The Montgomery County PSHQ houses central County Police and County Fire and Rescue Services functions, the Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (OEMHS), and the 1st District Police Station.

The Montgomery County Correctional Facility (MCCF), located in Boyds, Maryland, is responsible for the custody and care of about 1,000 inmates.

The two advanced microgrids will become fully operational in 2018.

(Photo Source: Scnhneider Electric's special page for microgrid)

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