Cuyahoga County, Ohio, to Vote on Plan for Multiple Microgrids Feb. 23

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Cuyahoga County in northeast Ohio is preparing to issue requests for proposals (RFPs) for multiple microgrids in an effort to spur business development.

Cuyahoga County

Howard M. Metzenbaum United States Courthouse’s reflection in the pool at the Public Square of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio. By Nina Alizada/Shutterstock.com

The initiative builds on plans to set up a $100 million microgrid district in downtown Cleveland, according to Armond Budish, a Cuyahoga County executive.

The plan comes after a week of rolling blackouts in Texas and other states that highlights the importance of grid reliability, Budish said Feb. 19 during a coronavirus update.

“We’ve seen just how incredibly important a strong and reliable grid is,” Budish said. “Just look at the terrible and dangerous blackouts across Texas.”

By setting up microgrids in Cuyahoga County, where about 1.2 million people live, businesses will have highly reliable, affordable and clean power, Budish said.

The Cuyahoga County Council is set to vote Feb. 23 on a measure that would allow the county to create a utility to set up microgrids. The utility would be housed in the county’s Department of Public Works, which would issue RFPs from developers and investors to set up and run the microgrids, according to Budish.

County eyes possible microgrid sites

The county has been in talks with local municipalities, and there are several potential projects that could be built in the initiative’s first efforts.

Budish said there is interest in building microgrids in at least three areas, including the Aerozone, an innovation hub that spans several municipalities and includes the Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport and the NASA Glenn Research Center.

 “This will put us on track for our economy to come roaring out of the pandemic.” — Armond Budish, Cuyahoga County executive

Microgrids could also be built at a 120-acre Sherwin-Williams research and development center in Brecksville, Ohio, and at the former American Greetings headquarters and surrounding area in Brooklyn, Ohio, according to Budish.

“It’s a bold and important direction that we’re taking,” Budish said. “It’s about business attraction and innovation and clean energy. This will put us on track for our economy to come roaring out of the pandemic.”

Cuyahoga County is continuing to work with Cleveland on a microgrid in the city, Budish said. He didn’t provide an update on the project. Cuyahoga County, the city of Cleveland, Cleveland Public Power and the Cleveland Foundation issued a request for qualifications in late 2019 for the project and prequalified eight developers.

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