The Howard County Office of Community Sustainability (OCS) was awarded two grants, totaling $109,000, from the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA).

OCS received a $9,000 grant to plan a Combined Heat & Power (CHP) system at the Howard County Detention Center and up to $100,000 to plan a micro-grid project at the George Howard Complex and the Roger Carter Center. The micro-grid project includes two forms of clean and efficient on-site 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 County Executive Calvin Ball. ”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 micro-grid, 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.

The micro-grid planning project includes four buildings that are part of the Howard County Government Campus on Court House Drive in Ellicott City. These buildings house many critical government functions, including the county’s Emergency Operations Center, Government Administration, County Council, Northern District Police, Fire and Rescue and other critical services.

The grants are part of MEA’s highly-competitive pilot Resilient Maryland program to provide funding for eligible organizations and governments to conduct feasibility analysis, engineering and design plans to increase resiliency of mission critical buildings, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and lower the cost of energy.