DC Water Issues Request for Interest in Wastewater Microgrid Project

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The District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority has issued a microgrid RFI (request for interest) for the Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant in Washington, D.C.

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DC Water is holding an outreach meeting at 3 p.m. May 25 to discuss the RFI. Letters of interest are due June 14.

DC Water said it issued the RFI on May 14 to get industry suggestions on designing, setting up and running a microgrid at the wastewater treatment plant.

Response to the RFI will help DC Water plan for a request for proposals (RFP) for the project’s feasibility and design, which the authority expects to issue in the fall. The RFP will lead to a “road map” for the project and will be followed by an additional solicitation.

DC Water said it applied for a Federal Emergency Management Agency “project scoping” grant to help fund the microgrid’s planning and concept development phase.

DC Water expects a microgrid will improve safety, reliability and resiliency at the wastewater treatment plant, which has an average load of 28 MW.

Distributed generation at the facility includes a 13.8-MW combined heat and power system and on-site solar photovoltaic systems totaling 3.43 MW.

Largest plant of its type in the world

The Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant is the largest plant of its kind in the world, according to DC Water.

The facility treats 300 million gallons of wastewater a day and can handle 1 billion gallons a day at peak flow.

The plant serves the District of Columbia, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland, and Fairfax and Loudoun counties in Virginia.

DC PSC reviews microgrid regulation

The move to develop a microgrid at the wastewater treatment plant comes as utility regulators in Washington have been creating a regulatory framework for microgrids.

After getting comments from a microgrid working group, the Public Service Commission (PSC) of the District of Columbia in July 2020 started a proceeding to look at the PSC’s role in regulating microgrids. The PSC took comments on the issue, and its review is ongoing.

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