Legislation to allow Cuyahoga County to form energy company for ‘microgrid’

By Emily Bamforth - cleveland.com (TNS)

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Legislation to create a power company owned by Cuyahoga County will be presented to County Council next week, Executive Armond Budish said in a Friday coronavirus news briefing.

The bill is co-sponsored by council members Sunny Simon, Dale Miller, Yvonne Conwell and Martin Sweeney.

See full comments on the microgrid in the YouTube video at the bottom of this post.

The Cleveland Microgrid Project, funded by Cuyahoga County and the Cleveland Foundation, aims to set up a secondary energy source for Cleveland’s power, which typically operates attached to the main power grid but could run independently in case of emergency. The aim is to provide reliable and consistent power to businesses and other entities.

Budish on Friday noted that power reliability is a topic widely discussed because of the widespread power outages in Texas after severe winter weather battered the state. Budish mentioned that the county was working with Cleveland on the project, but did not give an update on its status.

A website for the the project shows that the county, Cleveland, Cleveland Public Power and the Cleveland Foundation sent a asked developers and parties interested in the project to submit qualifications. The request received interest by Nov. 15, 2019, but the website does not include updates on developer selection.

On Friday, Budish said the model also could work in other parts of the county, so his administration is exploring a county-owned company to oversee multiple projects.

“We have the legal authority to operate a municipal utility,” he said. “Now I know some of you might be thinking this sounds like a really bad idea. What does the county know about running an energy company? Let me explain how it will work. Our public works departments will release RFPs to seek bids from developer-operators and investors who can come in and build out the system under the auspices of the county.”

Those selected would build the systems and then sell them in specific geographic regions.

Budish listed potential sites in communities where the county has seen interest in these kinds of projects, including an area near the airport and NASA, the old Brooklyn site of American Greetings and the Sherwin Williams Brecksville site.


By Emily Bamforth

cleveland.com (TNS)

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