September 8, 2021

First of Its Kind Integrated Microgrid and Charging Infrastructure Project Will Be Established at Brookville Smart Energy Bus Depot

Montgomery County broke ground on Sept. 9 on the Brookville Smart Energy Bus Depot, an integrated microgrid and electric bus charging infrastructure project. The project is being completed in partnership with AlphaStruxure, a leader in Energy as a Service (EaaS) solutions. The depot will be built and operational by mid-2022, servicing 44 new electric buses within the Montgomery County Department of Transportation’s Ride On fleet by 2023.

The first of its kind project supports the sustainability and climate resilience goals of the County.

"The Brookville Smart Energy Bus Depot project falls in line with our ambitious climate action plan to reduce all carbon emissions by 2035,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “This bus depot is one component of many County projects that is making a difference for our environment, such as converting our fleets to electric and reducing harmful emissions. This infrastructure project will improve the County's resilience and we are proud to be at the forefront amongst local governments when it comes to projects like this.”

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 holistic 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.

"Today's groundbreaking at the Brookville Smart Energy Bus Depot brings us closer to electrifying our bus fleets and reducing greenhouse emissions," Montgomery County Council President Tom Hucker said. "This transition to a zero-emissions fleet is one step the County is taking away from dirty energy and toward meeting our ambitious climate goals."

The 5.6 MW microgrid includes distributed energy generation, energy storage and more than 2 MW of charging capacity. AlphaStruxure will soon implement a strategy to transition the onsite gas generation to carbon neutral sources, allowing the microgrid to run on 100 percent renewable energy in alignment with the County’s goal to reach net-zero emissions by 2035. Transitioning 44 buses from diesel to electric will reduce lifetime emissions by 62 percent, which is equivalent to 155,000 tons of greenhouse gases, and lower air pollution in the community

“This is the third microgrid project undertaken by Montgomery County, but the one that will have the greatest impact on County residents,” said David Dise, director of the Department of General Services. “Reducing the County’s dependence on fossil fuels is vital to our future. Equally vital is ensuring that public facilities are resilient to the unpredictable impacts of climate and infrastructure degradation. This project is a model of successfully addressing both challenges.

The project improves the County’s climate resilience, ensuring uninterrupted 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 (Pepco), which will support regional grid performance and optimization for greater energy resilience overall.

“MCDOT has committed to a zero-emissions fleet by 2035,” said MCDOT Director Chris Conklin. “We’ve started the transition with the purchase of 14 electric buses so far. The Brookville microgrid project will charge these and future buses allowing us to provide great service in an environmentally responsible way.”