Navarro Supports Selection on Olney Town Center for Microgrid Control System Pilot Project

Olney signMontgomery County Councilmember Nancy Navarro today expressed enthusiasm for the continued progress of a two-year pilot program that will have Olney Town Center involved in a microgrid project that could be a model for the future of electric power service. Among the goals of the project would be to reduce critical load outages by 98 percent compared to current power emergencies.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (DOE/NETL) on Sept. 9 selected a team led by Burr Energy LLC (Microgrid Institute) to design, simulate and test microgrid control systems for two Maryland suburbs served by utility Pepco Holdings Inc. In addition to Olney Town Center, Ritchie Station Marketplace in Largo in Prince George’s County will be part of the pilot program.

DOE/NETL is expected to provide approximately $1.2 million in funding assistance for the Olney Town Center Microgrid Project during a two-year period beginning in late 2014. The project team—including the Microgrid Institute, the Green Energy Corporation, Schneider Electric and the FREEDM Systems Center at North Carolina State University—will work with Pepco Holdings Inc. on the design, simulation and testing of the advanced control systems for the community microgrids.

“As the Montgomery County Councilmember who represents the Olney community, I am pleased to express my support for the proposed study and selection of the Olney Town Center location,” said Councilmember Navarro, who earlier this year urged the project team to select Olney as a test community. “The Olney Town Center and the immediate area serve a highly populated residential community and offer a wide variety of essential services, including a hospital and medical facilities, schools, fire and police stations, supermarkets, banks and gas stations. During major events that cause wide-spread outages, providing uninterrupted electric service to critical community assets like these will offer significant assistance in the coordinated response to public emergencies.”

In addition to addressing local energy priorities, the project will pursue key national goals established in the President’s Climate Action Plan, as well as DOE’s Microgrid Program. Among the projects objectives are to reduce outage time of critical loads by more than 98 percent; to reduce emissions by 20 percent; and to improve system efficiencies by more than 20 percent.

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