Cuyahoga County draws 37 responses from RFI for microgrids and new utility

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Cuyahoga County, Ohio, said it received a “tremendous response” to its recent request for information (RFI) to build multiple microgrids and establish a county utility.

Cuyahoga County

Highway through Cleveland, which is the Cuyahoga County seat. Photo by Real Window Creative, Shutterstock.com

Issued in early June, the RFI drew 37 responses from across the country offering guidance on the technical, commercial and contractual frameworks for the project planned in Northeast Ohio, according to the county.

“The quality and quantity of responses we received to our RFI is really heartening. Some of the largest and well-known energy companies in the world weighed in with opinions and advice on how to proceed,” said Mike Foley, county sustainability director. We know we need to get this right, but what our county utility is doing can be cutting edge in terms of clean energy development, climate resilience and capital investment into the region.”

The RFI envisions the creation of energy districts governed by the county utility and focused on the high electric reliability standards (99.999% uptime) required by advanced manufacturers and data centers. The utility would foster development of microgrids and smart controls, along with other distributed energy resources, such as front-of-the-meter solar and batteries.

Once a center of heavy industry, the county hopes its new utility and microgrids will attract new manufacturing and commercial activity.

The county issued the RFI to identify models and timelines for creating the county electric utility and the technical capabilities needed for local microgrid districts.

“It’s clear from the large number of quality responses we received to this RFI that the country understands the value microgrids can bring to our region,” said County Executive Armond Budish. “This innovative energy program will bring jobs to the region, provide protection for large companies that they can’t get on the main network, and promote our climate change mitigation efforts. I look forward to seeing how these responses inform our work moving forward.”

Following interviews with respondents in August, the county plans to release a request for qualifications (RFQ) for a utility operator in September, and an RFQ for qualified developers shortly after.

Those who responded to the RFI included: Ameresco/OATI, Arup, Better Together, Brewer Garrett, Chaberton, Cirrus, Command Consulting, Compass Energy, Corix, DLR, Eaton, EDP Renewables, EN Engineering, Green Strategies, Heapy, Karpinski, Life Cycle, Maple Creek, Meppi, Mesa, Middough, Next Era, Nexus, Paragon, PowerSecure, Rolls Royce, Rpower, S&C Electric, Scale Microgrid Solutions, Schneider Electric, Siemens, Sustainable Exploration, Tenasca (TWREP), Worley (Advision)

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About Elisa Wood

Elisa Wood is the chief editor of MicrogridKnowledge.com. She has been writing about energy for more than three decades for top industry publications. Her work also has been picked up by CNN, the New York Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal Online and the Washington Post.