April 18, 2017

Local foundation funds microgrid study

In partnership with Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland State University’s Energy Policy Center will look into the way incoming and existing businesses can benefit from energy-smart technology by undertaking a microgrid study of Downtown Cleveland.  

The Maxine Goodman Levine College of Urban Affairs received a grant of $200,000 from the Cleveland Foundation to fund the study, which takes place in spring 2018.

Andrew Thomas, Ph.D., executive in residence of the Energy Policy Center, is one of the leaders of the study.

Thomas explained that a microgrid is a small network of electricity users with a local source of supply that is usually attached to a centralized grid but can function independently.

The primary location of the study will be downtown Cleveland and will include some parts of Cleveland State’s campus.

“The main goal is to determine if there might be opportunities for economic development in Cleveland through the attraction of industries that need inexpensive but reliable power,” Thomas said.

The main beneficiaries of this study include Cleveland residents and business owners, as well as future generations that may benefit from the smart energy solutions. Microgrids are the focus of the study because they have a chance to decrease the price of energy while maximizing reliability.

“The goal of the study is to determine if a microgrid located in downtown Cleveland can be a driver for economic development among those industries and businesses that need higher quality and resilient power,” Thomas said.

“Cleveland State has already taken measures to ensure resiliency for its key electrical systems, so it remains to be seen how much value a microgrid might have for the University.”

The study comes from the need to reduce the cost and pollution created by energy systems while increasing system reliability.

The Cleveland Foundation provided funding for the study so the community will better understand the costs and benefits associated with microgrids in Cleveland.

Cleveland State University received slightly less than half of the grant with some funding going to Case Western Reserve University, Cuyahoga County, the City of Cleveland, and several consultants on the project.

The planning for this project began in April, and project organizers intend to include faculty and students from both Cleveland State and Case Western Reserve.

For more information regarding the Maxine Goodman Levine College of Urban Affairs and the Energy Policy Center, visit http://levin.urban.csuohio.edu/epc/.


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