AlphaStruxure and Montgomery County, Md. (County), announced an integrated microgrid infrastructure project, featuring electric bus charging and on-site green hydrogen production powered by solar and battery energy storage, for the County’s, Equipment Maintenance and Transit Operation Center (EMTOC).
The project is one of three transit bus depots in Ride-On Montgomery’s network and the fifth largest County owned energy consumer. By 2035, the site is projected to accommodate over 200 mixed-fleet vehicles.
The project is expected to begin construction in Q4 2023 and be in operation by Q1 2025. The announcement of this innovative project follows the launch of the Brookville Smart Energy Bus Depot, the County’s first fully constructed microgrid-powered bus depot, in October of last year, which was also led by AlphaStruxure.
Montgomery County’s Microgrid Project
Comprising five MWDC of rooftop and canopy solar generation, two MW/7.35 MWh battery energy storage, existing backup generation, and up to 4.5 MW of charging capacity, the EMTOC microgrid will provide sustainable, resilient power to a mixed fleet of battery-electric and fuel-cell electric buses (FCEB), as well as EMTOC's five existing buildings.
The microgrid will be interconnected to the Pepco utility and is engineered to operate in island mode indefinitely, ensuring uninterrupted service for the County's constituents during extended grid or power outages and emergency situations. The microgrid’s solar generation will also provide power for the on-site production of green hydrogen, a resilient power source to FCEBs.
By embracing hydrogen fuel technology, Montgomery County can further enhance its equitable bus rapid transit (BRT) network and create new career and training opportunities for underserved communities, according to the County and AlphaStruxure.
By fueling the County's initial 13 FCEBs with green hydrogen produced by the microgrid's solar, this solution not only advances the County's goal to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2035 but also reduces their Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 4,000 metric tons of CO2 per year, equivalent to approximately 780 homes' electricity use for one year.
“Through our long-term partnership with AlphaStruxure, we’re excited to launch one of the most advanced bus depots in the country,” said Marc Elrich, County Executive for Montgomery County. “This project represents a significant milestone in our ongoing efforts to achieve our ambitious climate action, which aims to reduce all carbon emissions by 2035 while substantially enhancing the resilience of our transit services.
AlphaStruxure and the Microgrid Technology
AlphaStruxure, a joint venture of Schneider Electric™ and Carlyle, will finance the project through the Energy as a Service (EaaS) business model, while also delivering all aspects of design, construction, and long-term operations and maintenance.
By bringing together Carlyle's comprehensive financial capabilities and Schneider Electric's leading microgrid technology, software, and services, AlphaStruxure will serve as a trusted partner for the County, enabling them to achieve their long-term electrification, sustainability, and resilience goals.
The microgrid is delivered without capital expenditures to the County through an EaaS contract, a long-term agreement ensuring predictable operating expenses and guaranteed performance without upfront capital expenditures.
"AlphaStruxure's Energy as a Service model revolutionizes energy infrastructure projects by alleviating organizations from upfront costs and complexities of energy infrastructure, enabling a focus on core business objectives,” said Juan Macias, CEO at AlphaStruxure. “Through a long-term partnership, AlphaStruxure assumes financing, design, construction, ownership, and operation risks, while delivering contract-backed resilience, reliability, and GHG reduction. The innovative business model provides organizations with price certainty and cost predictability for their long-term energy expenses, while accelerating decarbonization efforts and paving a sustainable path for a greener future, freeing businesses from energy infrastructure burdens."
Benefits of the Microgrid
With an intelligent microgrid in place, the bus depot will work toward eliminating power disruptions while maximizing distributed energy resources for resilience.
The technology that makes this intelligence possible includes software tools and IoT-connected hardware. The system’s performance is managed by AlphaStruxure’s Integrate, a cyber-secure digital platform that monitors and optimizes on-site energy and charging infrastructure. The Integrate digital platform provides perspectives and reporting across multi-site environments to model, monitor, execute, analyze, and improve operations. 24/7 operators predict and respond to the system in real-time through the AlphaStruxure Network Operations Center.
Montgomery County's commitment to infrastructure that's resilient to climate change became a higher priority after the 2012 derecho when many residents lost power.
Statewide, Maryland is working toward a 50% zero-emission bus fleet by 2030. Montgomery County’s Department of General Services, the Department of Transportation, and the Office of Energy and Sustainability are spearheading this ambitious drive toward achieving net zero emissions by leading the transition of the county's transit fleet and depot infrastructure.
The EMTOC project is aligned with the County's priorities to reduce emissions from public transportation while enhancing the resilience of the community and infrastructure assets.