Here’s a daunting statistic: to fully decarbonize America’s public transit sector, there are thousands of bus depots that need to be electrified. Rolling out a shiny, new fleet of EV buses is only the first step. Building out the right electrification infrastructure to support this fleet is where well-intentioned organizations face the biggest roadblocks. After all, what good is an electric fleet if it isn’t being powered by reliable, resilient and sustainable energy sources? It can take years in planning and execution for bus depots or last-mile delivery distribution warehouses for heavy-duty EVs to make the transition. And that cost and time delay is one that organizations typically must bear during the energy transition.
However, Montgomery County, MD found a solution.
The County is now powering a public transit EV fleet with a sustainable, resilient microgrid. The 6.5 MW Microgrid at the County’s Brookville bus depot can support 70 electric buses and integrates solar photovoltaic canopies, renewable natural gas ready on-site generation, battery energy storage, microgrid controls, and electric bus chargers, ensuring the fleet’s continuous operation regardless of utility outages.
The solution is delivered at no upfront cost to the County through a long-term Energy as a Service agreement, ensuring predictable operating expenses and guaranteed performance for sustainability, resilience, and reliability. Through this turnkey approach offered by AlphaStruxure, Montgomery County quickly became a leader in fleet electrification and a sustainability archetype for local governments across the country — all with zero capital outlay.
For County officials, the thinking behind this project really got underway after a derecho in 2012 that knocked out power for local residents and many local services. County officials decided that resiliency had to be a top priority, which is why they’re investing in building microgrids to power critical county facilities.
This infrastructure not only delivers peace of mind for the County’s 1.1 million residents but also advances the County’s goal of reducing carbon emissions 80% by 2027, and 100% by 2035. Taxpayers are already enjoying quieter, modern buses and better air quality, as well as the satisfaction of knowing that they are reaching their destination in a more sustainable way.
Further, these microgrids offer the ability to substantially reduce carbon footprint while becoming a flexible resource for the grid.
This benchmark project serves as a national model for municipalities and private fleet owners across the county to efficiently deploy the charging infrastructure and distributed energy resources that the energy transition requires. By implementing smart energy infrastructure solutions, like what Montgomery County is doing, the U.S. will move closer to meeting domestic, and global, zero emission targets.
Thankfully, Congress passed legislation--that the Biden administration is now implementing--that will provide funding for more microgrids, electric buses and renewable energy deployment. The Brookville bus depot is a harbinger of things to come.
The transportation infrastructure of tomorrow is up and running today in Montgomery County. Who else is ready to jump on board?