This week, Cuyahoga County has launched the first microgrid electrical utility in the United States. Cuyahoga Green Energy (CGE) has contracted with Compass Energy Platform to serve as the operator for the county-run utility.
Cuyahoga County Council unanimously approved the 10-year contract at its Dec. 5 council meeting. Together with $1.8 million of Department of Energy funding secured by U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, Compass Energy Platform will bring its own capital and engineering partners to develop and finance the utility’s first three projects planned in Euclid, Brooklyn and the Aerozone region adjacent to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.
Cuyahoga County created Cuyahoga Green Energy in the fall of 2021, becoming the first new county utility in the county in over 75 years. The utility is a part of Cuyahoga County’s larger strategic focus on renewable energy and community resilience. Through the development of district microgrids, CGE will provide clean, reliable, locally produced energy to its customers.
“Cuyahoga County continues to be a leader in innovative government action,” said Cuyahoga County Executive Chris Ronayne in a written statement. “Today, as we face dynamic challenges presented by climate change, it is increasingly important that we commit to policies and strategies that protect our environment, support our economy, and move our communities toward a better future. I look forward to what Cuyahoga Green Energy will accomplish with Compass Energy Platform as our partner.”
The microgrids will serve as small-scale local electricity systems that can disconnect from the main grid and operate independently. During normal operation, the microgrids will connect to and obtain renewable power from the main grid.
The microgrids will also obtain power from local solar arrays and other types of local energy generation. During power outages, control systems will enable the microgrids to disconnect from the main grid and operate in “island” mode, ensuring an uninterrupted supply of electricity to customers.