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Funding for Design and Planning of Clean Energy Projects to Improve Resiliency in Maryland Communities

By Eric R. Coffman, Maryland Energy Administration, Director of Energy Programs

Maryland needs to amplify our adoption of clean energy and other distributed generation resources such as biomass, biogas, geothermal power, small hydropower, solar power and wind power. This push for clean energy ensures a more environmentally sustainable, more resilient and prosperous Maryland. This is why the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) has created Resilient Maryland, a pilot program based on feedback from Marylanders seeking help in identifying sites for new clean energy or distributed energy resources that provide broad benefits. Clean energy and distributed energy resources, including those incorporated into buildings and the built environment located nearest to the electricity customers being served, offer an opportunity to bolster resilience by helping governments, businesses and organizations ride out power outages while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Environmental impact

Maryland’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan calls for emissions to be cut by more than 40% by 2030. The state’s plan serves as a model for how the nation can respond to climate change while also supporting economic growth. Maryland’s requirement is significantly greater than the United States’ commitment to reduce emissions by 26-28% by 2025 under the Paris Agreement. The state’s plan unites over 100 measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and sites  investments in energy efficiency and clean and renewable energy solutions as top priorities along with widespread adoption of electric vehicles.

For most of Maryland’s history, we have imported the energy required by residents and businesses from out of state generators. Many of these out of state energy generators rely heavily on coal-fired electricity generation power plants. Resilient Maryland offers a unique opportunity for experimentation with a variety of clean energy alternatives on a small scale, reducing both financial risk and total project costs.

Who should apply?

Resilient Maryland
provides grants to help organizations identify opportunities to adopt clean energy technologies such as microgrids, resilient facility power systems, advanced combined heat and power, and resiliency hubs.  These technologies have the potential to make life better in Maryland while creating new opportunities. Local governments could use these approaches to bolster essential services (e.g., fire, rescue, emergency shelters); and drive economic development in districts seeking to attract new industries such as data centers seeking high-quality power. Community colleges and universities can protect key efforts (e.g., research) while providing additional benefits to the surrounding community; Multi-family communities can help protect low and moderate-income community members who may not be able to afford hotels during outages or cannot easily relocate to a shelter.  Hospitals and care facilities can protect the health of residents. Any organization seeking highly reliable, resilient, clean and affordable energy can benefit from this program.


Example projects in Maryland

Need more inspiration? Take a look at this
local microgrid success story in Montgomery County. MEA is proud to have partnered with the Montgomery County Thomas Manger Public Safety Headquarters in implementing a clean energy microgrid powered by solar parking canopies and natural gas CHP systems.  MEA also partnered with the County on a similar project at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility. The total energy production at the two Montgomery County microgrids equals over 11 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, which is enough energy to power 750 homes. The estimated greenhouse gas emission reduction is 6,800 metric tons annually which is equal to removing 1,400 cars off the road or planting 178,000 trees.

Another local example can be found at Baltimore Washington Medical Center (BWMC) in Glen Burnie. Part of the University of Maryland (UMM) hospital network, BWMC is one of three UMMs healthcare campuses in the state to have a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) system installed. BWMC’s CHP system powers the hospital’s lights and machines in the operating rooms, and utilizes previously lost heat to keep BWMC temperatures comfortable year-round. This system is powered by clean natural gas, as opposed to burning diesel fuel to make electricity. Additionally, the advanced CHP system provides reliable energy in times of need; this CHP system can be used as a backup generator with the medical center’s other emergency generators during weather emergencies or disasters. Learn more about this project here.

Funding from design and planning to implementation 

MEA recognizes that the costs incurred in designing successful projects can be significant, and also that well-engineered and analyzed plans lead to shovel-ready designs which achieve quicker buy-in from decision-makers and capital providers. Resilient Maryland is designed to achieve a critical goal in the long-term growth of distributed generation (DG) in Maryland.  Resilient Maryland will prime the DG industry with replicable project models and success metrics, which are both essential to future project decision-makers such as community leaders, chief financial officers and facility managers.

Staff from Montgomery Country’s Office of Energy and Sustainability charge their fleet EV at the new DC fast chargers under the solar canopy at the Montgomery County Thomas Manger Public Safety Headquarters. Photo credit: Montgomery County


Resilient Maryland will identify prime candidate sites for clean energy systems which include but are not limited to: solar photovoltaics (“PV”), CHP systems, energy storage systems, and other clean and innovative technologies; be informed on practical and replicable system designs; encourage technical and financial innovation in the energy services sector; begin dialogue across communities, utilities, and other stakeholders on clean and resilient energy systems; and connect participants to current and future MEA incentive programs. Further, it will provide MEA with valuable insight on how to fine-tune its existing programs and inform future program designs to respond effectively to the needs of Maryland’s communities and the clean energy industry. 

Applications are due by May 1, 2020 visit the Resilient Maryland web page for further details on eligibility requirements and application documents. Further questions and comments can be directed to Brandon Bowser, Energy Program Manager, at BrandonW.Bowser@Maryland gov or by phone at (410) 537-4086.  Please help us make this program a success!