AlphaStruxure, a provider of Energy as a Service (EaaS) solutions, announced Sept. 9 it will begin construction on the Brookville Smart Energy Bus Depot, an integrated microgrid and electric bus charging infrastructure project in Montgomery County, Maryland. The Brookville Smart Energy Bus Depot will be built and operational by mid-2022, supporting 44 electric buses within Ride On Montgomery County’s public transit fleet by 2023.
Montgomery County leveraged its progressive energy purchasing regulations to create a public-private partnership with AlphaStruxure, which was announced in May 2021. AlphaStruxure, a joint venture of Schneider Electric and the Carlyle Global Infrastructure Opportunity Fund, will design, build, finance, own, and operate the project, providing a solution for large-scale fleet electrification. The microgrid and charging infrastructure will be delivered at no upfront cost to the county through an EaaS contract, a long-term agreement ensuring predictable operating expenses and guaranteed performance for sustainability, resilience, and reliability.
Montgomery County is committed to sustainability leadership and improving resilience to climate change, after experiencing extreme weather events and extended power outages in the recent past. Statewide, Maryland is working towards a 50% zero-emission bus fleet by 2030. The Brookville Smart Energy Bus Depot is aligned with the county’s priorities to reduce emissions from public transportation while enhancing the resilience of the community and infrastructure assets.
The 5.6 MW microgrid includes distributed energy generation, energy storage, and over 2 MW of charging capacity. AlphaStruxure will implement a strategy to transition the onsite gas generation to carbon neutral sources in the near future, allowing the microgrid to run on 100% renewable energy in alignment with the county’s goal to reach net-zero emissions by 2035. Transitioning 44 buses from diesel to electric, powered by on-site clean energy microgrid, will reduce lifetime emissions by 62%, equivalent to 155,000 tons of greenhouse gases.
The Brookville Smart Energy Bus Depot improves the county’s climate resilience, ensuring uninterrupted transit bus services during emergencies, even in the event of multi-day utility grid outages. The microgrid’s lithium-ion battery system will also participate in a Demand Response program with Potomac Electric Power Company, which will support regional grid performance and optimization for greater energy resilience overall.
The Depot will ensure a ready supply of sustainable, resilient, and cost-effective power for Montgomery County’s new electric bus fleet. By charging from its own power supply, the county will avoid utility demand charges and won’t have to set bus charging schedules around the utility’s time-of-use rates. The project ensures operational flexibility, providing the county with full control over dispatch and bus routing.