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Microgrid considered for Washington

Washington DC may shortly be hosting a new microgrid after the federal government requested information on viability of such a system as part of an overall modernisation of the city’s district heating network.

70-80 buildings in the city are served by Washington’s 81-year-old district energy network and younger combined heat and power (CHP) system.
Washington DC
Microgrid Knowledge reports that the General Services Administration issued a request for information (RFI) Friday in the first step to upgrade the system.

Known as the Heating Operations & Transmission District, or HOTD, the electric and thermal system now provides steam to 71 buildings and chilled water to 11 buildings. The operation includes 12 miles of tunnels and buried lines.

The federal governmentà‚ envisions the HOTD serving as the generation source for a possible microgrid. Ità‚ wants a new, greener system that offers energy security and reliability and possibly new revenue streams and alternative business and ownership models.

In the mid-2000s, the federal government added the CHP system and new chiller capacity, under an energy services agreement with a private firm. à‚ Like the district energy system, the CHP plant uses natural gas as a primary fuel and oil as a backup. Ità‚ supplies electricity onsite and exports excess power to the distribution grid. The GSA raises the possibility of using the excess electric capacity in a microgrid.