Duke, Schneider pair up to build two microgrids in Maryland
Schneider Electric and Duke Energy Renewables have signed an agreement to deploy two advanced microgrids to serve the Montgomery County, MD, Public Safety Headquarters and Correctional Facility.
Montgomery County will build the microgrids, which will help ensure more reliable and efficient power, and improve resiliency for the county following major storms and other natural disasters, but they will be owned by Duke.
- The microgrids will produce about 3.3 million kWh of solar energy a year and will also include 7.4 million kWh of combined heat and power each year.
Building microgrids can be tricky in Maryland, as Baltimore Gas & Electric found out. Last July, BG&E sought to recover in rate base a proposed microgrid in Baltimore, but state regulators rejected the plan, saying it would not have been in keeping with the state’s deregulation rules.
But that's not the case for Schneider and Duke as cities prone to coastal storms are beefing up their defenses against electrical power outages. For Maryland’s Montgomery County, that entails the construction of two microgrids.
The microgrids are being developed and funded through Schneider’s Microgrid-as-a-Service business model that enables the county to complete construction without any up-front costs.A power purchase agreement with Duke will help 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,” David Dise, director of the county’s Department of General Services, said in a statement. “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 provide microgrid protection control and optimization, electrical equipment, distributed energy resource management, electrical design services, and cybersecurity and network design. Duke Energy Renewables will own both microgrids, and its REC Solar affiliate will build the solar system.
- Electric Light & Power Schneider, Duke Energy deploying microgrids for public safety facilities in Maryland
Follow Peter Maloney on Twitter