The Howard County Office of Community Sustainability has been awarded two grants totaling $109,000 from the Maryland Energy Administration. The county received a $9,000 grant to plan a combined heat and power system at the Howard County Detention Center and up to $100,000 to plan a microgrid project at the George Howard Complex and the Roger Carter Center. The microgrid project includes two forms of clean and efficient onsite power generation to improve the resiliency of critical public safety operations.
"Especially in tough times Howard County needs to lead with bold visions for the future," said Howard County Executive Calvin Ball in a statement. "As we anticipate more extreme weather and other adverse effects of climate change these projects will increase our emergency preparedness and our community resiliency, without any additional costs to Howard County residents."
The microgrid, which can operate independently of the power grid, would allow Howard County to provide uninterrupted public safety and other critical services even in the event of prolonged grid outages, while generating clean energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The planning and design work funded by the grant will help the County determine the exact configuration of power generation, which likely will include solar and highly efficient natural gas generators, among other technologies.