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Maryland Energy Administration awards over $500K to bolster energy resilience, sustainability

The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) Tuesday announced $566,000 in awards for eight organizations that will fund feasibility analysis, planning, and design of microgrids bringing resilience and sustainability to Maryland communities, critical infrastructure, essential businesses and emergency services.

Funding for these projects comes via MEA’s Resilient Maryland program, an innovative approach to support  community, campus, and building-scale microgrids, advanced combined heat and power systems, resiliency hubs, and other distributed energy resource (DER) projects. Funding for this grant is made possible via the Strategic Energy Investment Fund, which MEA administers.

Updating the old utility grid infrastructure can be costly; and one of the most practical ways is for organizations to install DERs that enhance operational efficiency, generate power onsite, and allow for more energy management control.

New systems often have the added benefit of adding resilience to the grid itself, improving the integrity of the state’s energy landscape. However, gaining the support of organizational decision makers to approve these projects and attracting capital to finance these solutions remains the biggest challenge in transitioning from concept to actionable project. This is due to the significant costs associated with conducting the necessary analysis to produce critical proof-of-concept plans.

The Resilient Maryland program  addresses this challenge by helping to satisfy those costs and move projects forward. Grants are provided to help organizations pay for planning deliverables such as detailed project feasibility analyses, preliminary engineering models and designs, financial analyses, greenhouse gas reduction projections, and the identification and analyses of logistical and regulatory hurdles.

The City of Frostburg will use its $100,000 award to conduct feasibility analysis, planning, and design of a community microgrid to serve critical city infrastructure that includes public safety and potential emergency shelters as well as the water supply and wastewater systems.

The mayor and City Council of Baltimore will use its $100,000 award to conduct feasibility analysis, planning, and design of a campus microgrid to serve its downtown municipal campus consisting of 14 city buildings that provide essential city services core to functionality of government and society, such as but not limited to: key emergency services, police, and fire services.

Little Chicks LLC will use its $20,000 award to conduct feasibility analysis, planning, and design of a resilient facility power system  for its poultry farm operation in Centreville. This project will study a system that will provide a sustainable, reliable source of energy that shields the farm against catastrophic loss of chickens as the result of a power outage.

Meritus Medical Center Inc. will use its $100,000 award to conduct feasibility analysis, planning, and design of a campus microgrid to serve its hospital and associated medical campus in Hagerstown. One of the largest health care providers in western Maryland, the 277-bed  hospital has 300 physicians on staff and employs over 3,000 workers.

The next cycle of this program will begin in July.


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