Microgrid Institute Team to Design Suburban Maryland Microgrids

Sept. 17, 2014
A team led by Burr Energy (doing business as Microgrid Institute) will design, simulate, and test control systems for two suburban Maryland microgrids under a $1.2 million federal grant.

A team led by Burr Energy (doing business as Microgrid Institute) will design, simulate, and test control systems for two suburban Maryland microgrids under a $1.2 million federal grant.

The Microgrid Institute team expects to receive the funds over two years beginning in late 2014 for a microgrid in Olney, part of Montgomery County, and Ritchie Station Marketplace in Prince George’s County.

The projects are among seven that will receive $8 million in grant money, announced earlier this month by the Department of Energy. The other microgrids are in Alaska, California, Illinois, New York, Tennessee and Washington.

“The Olney Town Center serves as a critical community hub and lifeline,” said Michael Burr, director of the Microgrid Institute. “With a hospital, two schools, police and fire stations, a water tower, and other vital facilities within one square mile, the Olney Town Center is an ideal setting for a resilient community microgrid.”

In addition to modeling a microgrid control system for the Olney Town Center area, the project will design and simulate a community microgrid centered on the Ritchie Station Marketplace, a multi-use commercial development near the Washington, D.C. beltway.

“Modeling microgrid configurations for two different community scenarios will allow the project team to compare and contrast use cases,” said Steven Pullins, chief strategy officer at Green Energy Corp. “Insight from these comparisons will add substantial value to commercial microgrid product designs.”

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The projects also will pursue key national goals established in President Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan, as well as the DOE’s Microgrid Program Objectives:

  • Reduce outage time of critical loads by more than 98 percent
  • Reduce emissions by 20 percent
  • Improve system efficiencies by more than 20 percent

In addition to the Microgrid Institute, the Maryland team includes Green Energy Corp., Schneider Electric, and FREEDM Systems Center at North Carolina State University. Pepco Holdings, the utility serving the area, will assist with the project.

Principal roles of each include:

  • Pepco: Collaborate with the project team, assist and cooperate on network modeling and system design
  • Burr Energy (Microgrid Institute): Serve as prime contractor and project manager, providing advisory support to the project team, and assisting efforts to define microgrid design objectives and use cases, commercial and contracting structures, and regulatory and legal frameworks
  • Green Energy Corp: Provide the GreenBus® Microgrid controls platform, as well as lead the team’s research and development, system planning, and design activities, and lead analysis of test results
  • Schneider Electric: Provide power engineering analysis, supporting equipment data and modeling efforts, and contribute key equipment for use in microgrid system integration, analysis, and testing
  • The Future Renewables Electric Energy Delivery and Management (FREEDM) Systems Center (National Science Foundation Gen-III Engineering Research Center at North Carolina State University): Lead and execute all microgrid control systems testing, and supporting engineering analysis and test results reporting.

Others supporting the project include: the Maryland Energy Administration, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, the Montgomery County Council, and the NAI Michael Companies – developer of the Ritchie Station Marketplace.

“Such collaborative support will ensure the project serves the priorities of local communities, the state of Maryland, and the nation,” Burr said.

Maryland is quickly emerging as one of the leading states for microgrid development. A gubernatorial task force has created a roadmap for creation of public purpose microgrids around the state. Separately, Montgomery County has issued a solicitation seeking proposals for microgrids that can keep critical facilities operating during an outage.

About the Author

Elisa Wood | Editor-in-Chief

Elisa Wood is an award-winning writer and editor who specializes in the energy industry. She is chief editor and co-founder of Microgrid Knowledge and serves as co-host of the publication’s popular conference series. She also co-founded RealEnergyWriters.com, where she continues to lead a team of energy writers who produce content for energy companies and advocacy organizations.

She has been writing about energy for more than two decades and is published widely. Her work can be found in prominent energy business journals as well as mainstream publications. She has been quoted by NPR, the Wall Street Journal and other notable media outlets.

“For an especially readable voice in the industry, the most consistent interpreter across these years has been the energy journalist Elisa Wood, whose Microgrid Knowledge (and conference) has aggregated more stories better than any other feed of its time,” wrote Malcolm McCullough, in the book, Downtime on the Microgrid, published by MIT Press in 2020.

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