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Cuyahoga County to Launch Nation’s First Microgrid Utility

The county council unanimously approved a 10-year contract between Cuyahoga Green Energy, the county-run utility, and Compass Energy Platform to develop district microgrids, which will serve as small-scale local electricity systems.

Cuyahoga County, Ohio, will launch the first microgrid electrical utility in the United States, according to a news release.

Cuyahoga Green Energy (CGE) has contracted with Compass Energy Platform to serve as the utility operator for the county run utility.

On Dec. 5, the Cuyahoga County Council unanimously approved the 10-year contract during its Council meeting.

Together with $1.8 million of Department of Energy funding secured by U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, Compass Energy Platform will bring its own capital and engineering partners to develop and finance the utility's first three projects planned in Euclid, Brooklyn and the Aerozone region adjacent to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

Cuyahoga County created Cuyahoga Green Energy in the fall 2021, becoming the first new county utility in the county in over 75 years, the release said.

The Utility is a part of Cuyahoga County's larger strategic focus on renewable energy and community resilience.

Through the development of district microgrids, CGE will provide clean, reliable, locally produced energy to its customers.

"Cuyahoga County continues to be a leader in innovative government action," said Cuyahoga County Executive Chris Ronayne in the release. "Today, as we face dynamic challenges presented by climate change, it is increasingly important that we commit to policies and strategies that protect our environment, support our economy, and move our communities toward a better future.

"I look forward to what Cuyahoga Green Energy will accomplish with Compass Energy Platform as our partner."

The microgrids will serve as small-scale local electricity systems that can disconnect from the main grid and operate independently.

During normal operation, the microgrids will connect to and obtain renewable power from the main grid. The microgrids will also obtain power from local solar arrays and other types of local energy generation.

During power outages, control systems will enable the microgrids to disconnect from the main grid and operate in "island" mode, ensuring an uninterrupted supply of electricity to customers.

"Cuyahoga County is taking a major step forward through its new microgrid utility, facilitating sustainable and resilient energy at a municipal scale, providing security to businesses and residents while easing the consequences of climate change," said Rick Bolton, CEO of Compass Energy Platform in the release. "Compass is so excited to be a part of this innovative effort.

"We look forward to working with the County to establish and operate the utility, along with developing the initial microgrid projects on which the utility will depend."

While traditional microgrids typically serve single customers or a small number of adjacent customers, Cuyahoga Green Energy's community microgrids will serve multiple interconnected customers.

These customers will share resources, including solar panels and batteries, so that energy can be used more strategically.

The initial Utility microgrids will focus on commercial and industrial customers and will expand in later stages to include schools, grocery stores, fire departments and other government and community loads.

(c)2023 The Morning Journal, Lorain, Ohio. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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