District of Columbia seeks microgrid developer for medical and communications facilities

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The District of Columbia is seeking a microgrid developer, owner and operator for a 4-MW project that will serve critical facilities in a mixed-use development known as the St. Elizabeths East campus. 


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FEMA awarded the project $20 million in April, making it the first microgrid in the country to receive funding under the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) grant program. As such, it is expected to serve as a national model.

The grant is meant to go toward keeping a hospital emergency room and other critical health services from losing power and ensuring 911 services work during grid outages and extreme weather.

More specifically, the microgrid will serve the Cedar Hills Regional Medical Center, expected to open in late 2024, and the existing Unified Communications Center, along with a new men’s shelter.

The request for proposals (RFP) seeks a private partner to design, build, own, operate and maintain the microgrid under a 15-year, take-or-pay power purchase agreement. The district is leaving open the option of taking over ownership at the end of the 15 years. 

As envisioned, the energy system will provide electricity, hot water and chilled water, employing multiple energy resources, including combined heat and power, on-site solar and battery storage, multiple utility feeds and last resort back-up diesel generators. 

In addition to electrical load, the project will require 16 MMBtu of peak heating and domestic hot water, and up to 1,400 tons of cooling with potential for significant expansion to other off-takers on the campus, among them a behavioral health hospital.

The microgrid will include a minimum of 800 kW of solar. But the district wants the bid winner to encourage and coordinate the integration of more solar at other facilities on the campus and help the facilities interconnect with the local utility, Pepco.

Important note: The registration deadline for the July 8 site tour is July 6 at 4 pm ET. Register here with the solicitation number (DCAM-22-CS-RFP-0011), the project name (Redevelopment of St. Elizabeths East Campus – Microgrid Project), and the contract specialist (James Marshall), and then provide your name, company, phone number and email address.

The district will evaluate the proposals on a point scale with 30 points for past performance and relevant experience, 30 points for project management, 20 points for key personnel and team capabilities and 20 points for price. The RFP anticipates baseline pricing for energy services to be set using an avoided cost approach, so that off-takers pay less for energy services from the microgrid than they would have paid without the microgrid. 

The winning bidder would take responsibility for overall system design, construction and financing, while guaranteeing that the microgrid will be up and running in time to meet the energy needs of the new hospital and ambulatory care buildings.

Proposals are due Aug. 9. A pre-proposal conference and site visit will be held July 8. Questions are due July 15.

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The RFP is available through the DC Department of General Services or by contacting James Marshall, senior contract specialist, at [email protected]

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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.


  1. Hi
    I am completing the above application but where do I find the contract specialist?

  2. Shalom Flank, Ph.D. says:

    There’s a lot happening in the District! In addition to active multi-MW projects at Gallaudet, St. Elizabeths, and Blue Plains, the DC PSC also has a dedicated microgrid proceeding. It took a while, but they just released their first order, clarifying the definitions and categories of microgrids, and promising new regulations for multi-user microgrids soon. Those who are interested should keep an eye on Formal Case 1163 and add their comments when the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking comes out: