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Hey all,

 

Starting this thread as a repository for the downtown microgrid proposal that's been percolating for a few years, and has now gained traction with the City and County with the advent of an imminent RFP slated for release once the County Sustainability Committee approves the remaining funding for the RFP issuance (~$115K). More broadly, a microgrid is "an energy island able to disconnect from the main electrical grid at any time, and generate and distribute independently by combining generation sources, such as generators, solar or wind energy and intelligent control systems." (Cleveland State). It would offer "redundant power in the event of a failure of a traditional power grid." (Crains). According to the below article from Crains, issuance of an RFP this year could result in the selection of a developer as soon as Q1-2020.

 

As far as power mix, its proposed to be driven largely by natural gas with increasing supplements of distributed generation, including solar and offshore wind off Lake Erie (what up LEEDCo!).

 

Here are a few good background resources:

 

http://levin.urban.csuohio.edu/microgrid-cleveland/index.html

 

https://www.cleveland.com/business/2018/10/downtown_cleveland_microgrid_p.html

 

http://sustainability.cuyahogacounty.us/en-US/Microgrid.aspx

 

https://www.crainscleveland.com/energy-and-environment/county-microgrid-would-keep-power

 

I know there are probably plenty in the Cleveland development community interested in the topic, seeing as Cleveland State is more or less the one that got the ball rolling.

 

Personally, some questions at the top of my mind include:

 

(1) When the County is poised to approve the RFP funding and any political implications surrounding the decision, or alternatives if its denied

(2) Most likely / most viable anchor tenants within the study area

(3) Biggest economic development opportunities and/or targets (e.g. blockchain-based transactive energy trading... I see you Blockland)

(4) Creative financing mechanisms

(5) Most important public infrastructure investments and planning processes to supplement the private planning and investment process 

 

Looking forward to keeping up with this project as it progresses, as well as any further discussion from the community.

 

microgrid.PNG

Study Area 1.PNG

Study Area 2.PNG

Edited by ASP1984
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Very interesting, thank you for starting this thread.  I’m curious though as to why the micro grid would not expand west of the river, incorporating at least to west 25th and north of Columbus would make sense, no?  I imagine the micro grid itself would create several well paying jobs.  Apologies if that’s discussed in the linked articles, I’m a little pressed for time at this moment.

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32 minutes ago, Sapper Daddy said:

Very interesting, thank you for starting this thread.  I’m curious though as to why the micro grid would not expand west of the river, incorporating at least to west 25th and north of Columbus would make sense, no?  I imagine the micro grid itself would create several well paying jobs.  Apologies if that’s discussed in the linked articles, I’m a little pressed for time at this moment.

 

No worries - there's a lot to digest.

 

Based on my understanding, microgrids are planned at the onset primarily around anchor load (i.e. think data centers, hospitals, companies with little tolerance for downtime) and then radiate out to encompass smaller customers usually involving high-priority community facilities or emergency shelters. The other constraint is legacy infrastructure / existing conditions (e.g. district heating or cooling systems, substations, existing distribution circuits and transmission lines) and their related real estate rights (i.e. primarily along public rights-of-way) and the relative ease with which one can build out a more streamlined, integrated set utilities (e.g. from gas lines and electrical conduits to water or broadband, or any combination thereof). My understanding is that legacy infrastructure from Cleveland Thermal aligns well with the study area, and that the river poses a natural boundary given that much of the infrastructure needs embedding underground. The CSU study took a stab at categorizing potential anchor tenants in this part of the city, as well as the existing infrastructure, and I'm sure the analysis leaves room to build on.

Edited by ASP1984

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2 hours ago, Sapper Daddy said:

Very interesting, thank you for starting this thread.  I’m curious though as to why the micro grid would not expand west of the river, incorporating at least to west 25th and north of Columbus would make sense, no?  I imagine the micro grid itself would create several well paying jobs.  Apologies if that’s discussed in the linked articles, I’m a little pressed for time at this moment.

 

Thinking about your question more though, the GLBC development on Scranton Peninsula could provide a great northern anchor opportunity for a separate microgrid west of the river, spanning between Scranton on the north to MetroHealth to the south along West 25th. Its a comparable distance as is being studied between East 55th and the river, with plenty of businesses in between. Also, MetroHealth is envisioning their campus expansion as an EcoDistrict, which is a great planning framework for microgrid development. 

 

https://ecodistricts.org/registered-districts/metrohealth-community-district/

 

They're both forward-thinking, sustainability minded companies with a big sway in town. Its fun to imagine what it would be like if the two entities ever found a way to work together.

 

West Side River.PNG

Edited by ASP1984
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Is this something that Cleveland is lagging in compared to other cities, or is this something that is a newer idea and may be a nice tool to appeal to bringing new businesses into the city?  Interesting either way...

 

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It’s a pretty novel idea. I have several utility clients that are trying to “jump ahead” in this space. As was mentioned upthread, you really need some foundational anchors to realize, stabilize, and utilize the micro grid, especially if it’s using distributed energy resources (commonly called DERs because everyone loves useless acronyms). 

Edited by Clevecane
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13 hours ago, Clevecane said:

It’s a pretty novel idea. I have several utility clients that are trying to “jump ahead” in this space. As was mentioned upthread, you really need some foundational anchors to realize, stabilize, and utilize the micro grid, especially if it’s using distributed energy resources (commonly called DERs because everyone loves useless acronyms). 

 

Clevecane: just curious, but in what ways are they looking to "jump ahead?" Are they evaluating equipment-specific pilots on the distribution side? DER's + storage? Both? Would be curious to know, as well as the general geographic reach if that's something you're able to discuss. 

 

More broadly, I understand that Pitt Ohio is completing a microgrid for a trucking terminal in Parma this summer. Unique to see in Ohio, given the astronomical per watt cost and lack of state renewable incentives. Apparently companies are assigning increasing value to reliability and other grid firming services.

 

https://microgridknowledge.com/renewable-energy-microgrid-trucking/

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On 7/19/2019 at 12:22 PM, ASP1984 said:

 

Clevecane: just curious, but in what ways are they looking to "jump ahead?" Are they evaluating equipment-specific pilots on the distribution side? DER's + storage? Both? Would be curious to know, as well as the general geographic reach if that's something you're able to discuss.

 

Both, but mainly DERs at this point with storage being a future desire if anyone can ever figure it out. The lack of functional storage is I believe why they’re looking at anchors that will actually need the energy—hospitals, universities, military bases, etc. 

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this is absolutely brilliant/innovative to be planning and it's very interesting -- thanks -- and yeah lets keep up with these developments.

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Cleveland Seeks Developer in Next Stage of Large Downtown Microgrid Project

November 4, 2019 By Andrew Burger

 

Ohio’s Cuyahoga County and partners have issued a request for qualifications (RFQ) seeking a developer for what could become a $100 million microgrid district in downtown Cleveland.

 

Working with the City of Cleveland, Cleveland Public Power and the Cleveland Organization, the county seeks responses to the RFQ by November 15.

 

Cleveland’s downtown microgrid district would be of a size and scope and nature seen in few microgrids to date. According to project plans, it would encompass Cleveland’s central business district, a two- to three-square-mile area, bound roughly by Interstate 90 and the Cuyahoga River.

 

https://microgridknowledge.com/cleveland-microgrid-district/

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22 hours ago, MuRrAy HiLL said:

Cleveland Seeks Developer in Next Stage of Large Downtown Microgrid Project

November 4, 2019 By Andrew Burger

 

Ohio’s Cuyahoga County and partners have issued a request for qualifications (RFQ) seeking a developer for what could become a $100 million microgrid district in downtown Cleveland.

 

Working with the City of Cleveland, Cleveland Public Power and the Cleveland Organization, the county seeks responses to the RFQ by November 15.

 

Cleveland’s downtown microgrid district would be of a size and scope and nature seen in few microgrids to date. According to project plans, it would encompass Cleveland’s central business district, a two- to three-square-mile area, bound roughly by Interstate 90 and the Cuyahoga River.

 

https://microgridknowledge.com/cleveland-microgrid-district/

 

$20 the ultimate response ties into the Sherwin Williams HQ.

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If the deadline for the RFQ is in less than two weeks, that makes me want to think they’ve got a particular proposal they are considering and the RFQ process is more a formality/for appearances. Nobody could put together a serious microgrid proposal in 10 days.

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1 hour ago, LlamaLawyer said:

If the deadline for the RFQ is in less than two weeks, that makes me want to think they’ve got a particular proposal they are considering and the RFQ process is more a formality/for appearances. Nobody could put together a serious microgrid proposal in 10 days.

 

Actually the project partners issued the RFQ on October 17. Middough Engineering is managing the process.

 

http://sustainability.cuyahogacounty.us/en-US/Microgrid.aspx

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14 hours ago, LlamaLawyer said:

If the deadline for the RFQ is in less than two weeks, that makes me want to think they’ve got a particular proposal they are considering and the RFQ process is more a formality/for appearances. Nobody could put together a serious microgrid proposal in 10 days.

 

Yeah but its an RFQ - my understanding is that this is a precursor to requesting proposals (RFP).

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On 11/5/2019 at 7:23 PM, ASP1984 said:

 

$20 the ultimate response ties into the Sherwin Williams HQ.

 

Getting warmer...

 

"The county would use “good faith” efforts to support the needs of Sherwin-Williams if it opts into a proposed microgrid project, which would provide a back-up source of power during electrical outages for a portion of downtown Cleveland. The county also would consider paying a portion of the costs associated with Sherwin-Williams using the microgrid."

 

https://www.cleveland.com/news/2020/02/proposed-sherwin-williams-agreement-with-cuyahoga-county-includes-potential-help-redeveloping-landmark-office-towers.html

Edited by ASP1984
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^The Clinic and UH already have their own significant backup generators that keep the places mostly running during an outage.

 

There was an article posted in another thread about twitter being fed up with San Francisco and many companies moving to remote work and satellite offices. I can't help but think downtown having its own dedicated electrical grid would be attractive to a Facebook or Google.

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This has massive upside for businesses with cybersecurity concerns - especially in light of the discovery of Russian malware in several of our power grids last year. 

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Would a microgrid like this be an important part of a project to build say, a research and design facility? And if it would be, would it be enough to change the mind of a large corporation planning to move said research and design facility to a boring patch of grass in the suburbs?

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23 minutes ago, math said:

Would a microgrid like this be an important part of a project to build say, a research and design facility? And if it would be, would it be enough to change the mind of a large corporation planning to move said research and design facility to a boring patch of grass in the suburbs?

 

It could be - one example is blockchain, which is computation-heavy and requires huge amounts of both power and reliability. If you consider its applicability to industries like energy (e.g. transactive energy trading between producers and consumers on a microgrid) or healthcare (e.g. increasing interoperability and security of patient information), the R&D implications of a reliable microgrid in a marketable part of downtown with great public transit access and proximity to a wide diversity of companies is huge. A microgrid could lend huge credibility to the Blockland effort currently underway at Tower City.

Edited by ASP1984
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A microgrid would be beneficial for any industry or organization that has high utilization rates. So police stations, port facilities, hospitals would be the more public facing organizations that would want 24/7 coverage. 

   The other reason for a microgrid is to have cleaner electricity. This helps with maintaining all electrical equipment in avoiding spikes that can damage sensitive electronics.  
   I would think a major tie-in to a microgrid would be the lake erie wind farm when it gets built. 
   This could affect many decisions that are going on now in regards to the ongoing musical chaIrs of various Cleveland organization building sites being looked at. 

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1 minute ago, audidave said:

A microgrid would be beneficial for any industry or organization that has high utilization rates. So police stations, port facilities, hospitals would be the more public facing organizations that would want 24/7 coverage. 

   The other reason for a microgrid is to have cleaner electricity. This helps with maintaining all electrical equipment in avoiding spikes that can damage sensitive electronics.  
   I would think a major tie-in to a microgrid would be the lake erie wind farm when it gets built. 
   This could affect many decisions that are going on now in regards to the ongoing musical chaIrs of various Cleveland organization building sites being looked at. 

 

To add to this, the microgrid is being aimed at the 24/7 operations - banks, major corps., CSU, etc. - those that can't really afford to depend solely on CPP/First Energy. Don't quote me, but I believe the 'whale building' is going to be a tie-in. 

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Just now, GISguy said:

 

To add to this, the microgrid is being aimed at the 24/7 operations - banks, major corps., CSU, etc. - those that can't really afford to depend solely on CPP/First Energy. Don't quote me, but I believe the 'whale building' is going to be a tie-in. 

This is a very smart direction to go and is worth all levels of government to help push this through.  Essentially it is modernizing the city electric system which will allow better management of it and likely reduce the cost of electricity by maintaining a better system. It will allow companies to not have to have backup power sources because there is ample backup power on the micro-grid.   

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Actually the businesses that require 99.99999% power availability will still have backup generators because this type of business ALWAYS has back up upon backup upon backup...

Edited by Larry1962
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2 hours ago, Larry1962 said:

Actually the businesses that require 99.999% power availability will still have backup generators because this type of business ALWAYS has back up upon backup upon backup...

 

Totally. I did a couple interviews for a Real Estate Developer position on Facebooks Data Center team a few years back. It was a great excuse to learn about all the ways tech companies think about building in redundancy, even as it extends out to the circuits themselves between a data center and the closest substation. The data center was, almost by design, intended to be the anchor for a microgrid so they could influence how it interacts from a demand-response perspective with other customers on the circuit to maintain overall circuit reliability (i.e. managing supply/demand balance, responding to voltage flicker, timing certain energy-intensive processing exercises for off-peak hours, etc). They brought up the "five 9's" (99.99999% reliability - or maybe it was seven? Idk) every other minute, and onsite backup was always a requirement. However, battery storage management models for distributed solar plants can allow multiple solar farms / arrays throughout a circuit to talk to each other, and coordinate as to who should release how much power when depending on the time of day and circuit load profile, and who should hold back energy. So what form that backup takes depending on customer type is going to be an open question.

 

In this vein, I also thought it was interesting how a data center's physical position or proximity on the circuit relative to other loads influenced their grid integration design and facility load management strategy. I would imagine that the Cleveland microgrids partial reliance on natural gas will allow it to ramp power pretty quickly (as opposed to a battery), which I'm sure provides an attractive advantage to certain types of businesses regardless of onsite backup (though I'm sure we'll see fuel cells). But then again, Tesla backed windfarms in South Wales, Australia proved differently a few years back when they were quicker to correct grid imbalances than fossil generation assets. By the time this gets built, battery storage technology (hardware and software) and fuel cells will be advanced enough to allow for some truly interesting outcomes. 

 

Idk, I could ramble on and on about this stuff.

Edited by ASP1984
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^Obviously there are companies that can never have enough backup electricity plans. The point is the organizations that are part of the microgrid can be charged additional cent or 2 per kwh for the service of clean electricity. 

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1 hour ago, audidave said:

^Obviously there are companies that can never have enough backup electricity plans. The point is the organizations that are part of the microgrid can be charged additional cent or 2 per kwh for the service of clean electricity. 

Very true that some companies do only need "clean" electric and as long as the downtimes are very minimal, they can tolerate them.

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And I totally agree that IF they are successful with signing up enough companies in the CBD to join the CLE Microgrid Project.

 

Then it will DEFINITELY be very helpful in attracting and retaining more tech companies in the Cleveland CBD!

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