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Cuyahoga County Utility Microgrid Development
Cuyahoga County Utility Microgrid Development

The Need

Striving to accelerate progress on climate, energy resiliency, and equity goals Cuyahoga County, Ohio took the innovative approach to economic development by creating its own microgrid-focused electric distribution utility in 2021. The county’s unique regulatory autonomy puts it in a position to create a new utility model and a modern, sophisticated electric distribution system. The county envisions community integrated microgrid districts as the vehicle for this change and anticipates benefits to the broader electric grid, local communities, and businesses.


In 2022, Go Sustainable Energy (Go) and our team of sub-consultants joined the County to provide technical consulting for the development and design of the county utility and subsequent microgrids.

Our Approach

Given the innovative and start-up nature of this initiative, Go serves as a technical extension of the County’s staff, supporting in several ways including:


Establish Utility Organizational Structure

Go led efforts to establish the organizational structure and function of the utility by:

  • Developing the utility’s organization, business, and contract models

  • Researching regulatory compliance and energy market participation

  • Working with local municipalities and community partners on how to best leverage and support local resources.


Define and Find a Utility Operation Partner

As a start-up utility, the County needed an external organization to bring operational capabilities and access to private capital to fund the eventual microgrid projects. Go lead the process to find a Utility Operation Partner by:

  • Creating and issuing a Request for Information for entities to provide input on the Utility’s structure and eventual role of the Utility Operation Partner. This process allowed Go and the County to review input from 36 separate entities.

  • Using this input, we helped the County to formally define the role and scope of work of the Utility Operating Partner.

  • Go drafted a Request for Qualifications and assisted the County in reviewing, interviewing, and grading applicants.

  • This allowed the County to successfully select Compass Energy Platform to serve in this role!


Microgrid Design

Go worked with the County to identify its first two microgrid sites. Go’s team performed conceptual engineering tasks such as creating schematic designs, performing electric tariff analysis, generating economic models, and customer engagement.


This process allowed Go to advise the County on project viability and project development plans.


The Results

Since 2022, the County Utility has matured with its utility partner in place, access to capital, and interested industrial and municipal customers. It is now moving to the next phase of development for its first microgrid districts in the cities of Brooklyn and Euclid, Ohio.


Go continues to serve as a technical owner’s advocate during the design process. We lead forward-looking efforts such as developing the utility’s long-term strategy, pursuing grant opportunities, and tracking emerging regulatory, policy and market trends.


Our Role

Cuyahoga County Utility Microgrid Development & Design Consultant

The Client

Cuyahoga County

Duration

2022-Present

Team

Charles Schreier, PE

Milena Walwer

Peter Worley

Rohullah Arya

Tommy Tappel

Wyatt Elbin

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