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A much-awaited microgrid that highlights the growing synergy between microgrids and electrification went live this week in Montgomery County, Maryland. The project powers electric buses with a microgrid for the first time in the Washington, D.C., area.
The 6.5-MW microgrid was built by AlphaStruxure, a joint venture of Schneider Electric and the Carlyle Group, a global private equity firm, under a long-term energy-as-a-service (EaaS) agreement the company has with the county. Located at the Brookville Smart Energy Bus Depot, it will power the Montgomery County Department of Transportation’s Ride On transit electric buses.
Described as tomorrow’s transportation infrastructure by AlphaStruxure CEO Juan Macias, phase one of the microgrid project includes 1.6 MW of solar photovoltaic canopies. That’s in addition to renewable natural gas-ready on-site generation. Plus, 3 MW of battery energy storage, and more than 4.14 MW of charging capacity.
Moreover, AlphaStruxure’s digital platform manages the microgrid which provides 24/7 real-time performance and operations data to stakeholders. The integrated bus charging infrastructure was provided by The Mobility House.
Phase two of the project will further improve resilience, reliability, and system uptime. That’s by adding more charging capacity and two more renewable gas-ready gensets.
In the long term, renewable energy will power the microgrid entirely. “We’re the third [county] nationally to have solar-powered charging stations for our buses with one of the most sophisticated integrated microgrids,” said Marc Elrich, county executive.
The county will charge 70 electric buses at the depot, reducing lifetime emissions by 62%. That’s the equivalent of more than 160,000 tons of greenhouse gases over the next 25 years.
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