MEA Announces FY22 Resilient Maryland Award Winners, Opens Second Round of Planning Funds
Baltimore, MD – Today the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) is pleased to announce nearly half a million dollars in awards issued from its FY22 Resilient Maryland preconstruction planning program, and that it is reopening the FY22 program for a second round of funding with applications due by 5:00 P.M. EDT March 31, 2022. This popular MEA program has returned in its third year to provide Maryland’s critical infrastructure, essential businesses and organizations, communities, food suppliers, and others with funds from the Strategic Energy Investment Fund (SEIF). Awards are provided to help recipients study, plan, and preliminarily design microgrids, resiliency hubs, and other distributed energy resource (DER) systems to bolster their resilience against power disruption caused by natural disasters, extreme weather conditions, and other threats to the operational integrity of the electric grid. Six (6) awardees will use their Round 1 funds to complete critical preconstruction analysis and project plans for DER systems to safeguard their operations and surrounding communities, and also improve energy affordability, efficiency, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Microgrids and other DER systems allow for the production of reliable energy onsite from clean and sustainable sources, like solar PV, battery storage, and combined heat and power (CHP). They are designed to work with the electric grid in normal, or “blue sky,” situations, to control costs and minimize environmental impacts, but also to provide power to essential systems and services independent of the utility when grid power is lost and help sustain them throughout the duration of the outage. This capability is especially important to critical infrastructure such as hospitals, wastewater treatment and potable water systems, and emergency response; as well as to communities and populations experiencing socioeconomic and environmental vulnerabilities that have historically had to disproportionately bear the adverse impacts related to prolonged power outages.
This year, Round 1 of Resilient Maryland will assist a highly-critical wastewater treatment plant, two (2) local governments, two (2) higher learning institutions, and a regional food producer in their resilience planning efforts. They join a portfolio of 21 existing FY20 and FY21 Resilient Maryland awardees that have and continue to produce detailed information on microgrid, resiliency hub, and other DER configurations important to project stakeholders and decision-makers key to their success.
Among the Round 1 award winners are the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission’s (WSSC) Potomac Water Filtration Plant, which provides potable water supply for hundreds of thousands of Marylanders in Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties. WSSC will use its Resilient Maryland award to study and plan a microgrid to safeguard the plant from sustained power outages and enable it to continue treating and providing water until grid power is restored.
Also included is AquaCon Maryland, LLC’s soon to be constructed land-based salmon aquaculture facility on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. AquaCon will study and plan a microgrid to power and shield its operations from power failures that would cause catastrophic loss of salmon, severely impacting regional food supply chains and causing significant financial distress for the company.
Preconstruction feasibility analysis and planning is critical to securing stakeholder buy-in, and that substantially helps make a project “shovel-ready” and primed for installation. This has already and continues to happen—just last year, MEA awarded a special innovation grant to FY20 Resilient Maryland award winner Housing Initiative Partnership toward the installation of its Fairmount Heights Microgrid, which it analyzed and planned using its Resilient Maryland award. The success of this project and many other Resilient Maryland awardees’ analyses is primarily what helped create MEA’s Resilient Maryland Capital Development Pilot Program, which launched today with the reopening of Resilient Maryland’s Round 2 preconstruction planning grants. This innovative pilot incentive program builds on Resilient Maryland’s planning and design efforts by providing funding toward DER equipment and installation costs for microgrids, resiliency hubs, and resilient facility power systems.
A full list of FY22 Resilient Maryland awardees and information about their projects can be found here.
MEA congratulates its FY22 Resilient Maryland award winners and looks forward to assisting them throughout their planning processes.
For questions and additional information about the Resilient Maryland program, how to submit a strong Round 2 application, and other MEA resiliency efforts, please contact Brandon Bowser, Energy Resilience Program Manager. He can be reached via email at BrandonW.Bowser@Maryland.gov.