Baltimore Gas & Electric (BGE) is proposing to develop two electric microgrids — one in Baltimore City and one in Howard County — as part of a pilot program to test the microgrid concept. Microgrids are self-contained, small-scale electric grids with their own power generation source that can power a commercial center independently of the regional power grid when necessary, such as in the aftermath of a severe impact storm.

The BGE application to the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) proposes developing pilot public purpose microgrids at Edmondson Village in Baltimore City and at the Kings Contrivance Village Center in Howard County. Both areas meet criteria conducive to the tests, including supporting a mix of community services beneficial to the public, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, clinics, gas stations and public buildings that could potentially be used for emergency coordination and shelters during a regional event affecting the power grid.

“Microgrids are designed to strengthen the reliability and resiliency of the electric grid and provide geographic locations that can maintain power and provide vital community services to our customers when a region in our service territory experiences widespread outages,” said Rob Biagiotti, vice president and chief customer officer, BGE. “We look forward to using the pilot to better understand how microgrids can enhance the electric system serving our customers in the future.”

BGE’s proposed pilot builds on the Maryland Energy Administration’s 2014 Resiliency Through Microgrids Task Force Report that concluded in part that microgrids are in the public interest, and electric utilities should apply to the PSC for approval to develop microgrids.

In choosing the initial pilot locations, BGE considered a number of factors, including a mix of community services, urban and suburban locations, and proximity to public transportation or major roadways. BGE has filed the proposal with the PSC, including a plan to recover the costs of developing and operating the microgrids, with a monthly charge for electric customers; it is estimated to be approximately $0.04 per month for the average residential electric customer during the first year.