Counties Among Latest “Smart Energy Communities” Grant Winners

Anne Arundel, Charles, Howard, and Montgomery County all received support for innovative energy projects through a state grant program targeting cost savings and energy efficiency.

The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) has announced awards for the Maryland Smart Energy Communities (MSEC) grant program for fiscal year (FY) 2021. More than $750,000 will be distributed to 16 grantees to assist in funding 22 energy projects that will result in significant cost savings and stimulate economic activity. It is estimated that collectively the projects will result in annual energy cost savings of at least $170,000, with the projected annual reduction in electricity consumption to reach 1,654,814 kilowatt-hours (kWh) which is enough energy to power 137 Maryland homes for a year, and a decrease in transportation fuel usage by more than 6,450 gallons per year which is the equivalent of removing 12 cars from the road for a year.

“These communities are leading by example by promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy policies,” said Governor Hogan. “The savings generated from the Maryland Smart Energy Communities program enable local governments to plan for a more sustainable future.”

“This program enables Maryland communities to build a more sustainable future, banking on their energy efficiency and renewable energy savings,” explained Mary Beth Tung, Ph.D., Esq., Director of the MEA. “It is exciting to see communities lead by example.”

The MSEC FY2021 grant program includes 16 communities from ten counties across Maryland. Projects range from efficiency measures, to renewable energy projects, and transportation-related efforts to reduce fossil fuel consumption.  Some spotlight examples include:

Funding for Gaithersburg to support the upgrade of 565 citywide streetlights, expected to reduce electricity consumption by approximately 129,302 kWh annually, saving this Montgomery County city$12,930 per year in costs.

The City of Frostburg received funding assistance to install a 1.5 KW solar PV system at their sewage pumping station that will provide additional power for the station’s smaller electrical components. The system will produce roughly 2,000 kWh annually and be tied to a battery storage system that can be accessed for power back-up in times of grid outages. By also replacing the out-of-date pumps at its sewage pumping station, these efforts combined will reduce electricity consumption at the station by roughly 90,000 kWh/year, saving this Western Maryland town approximately$5,600 annually.

Frostburg Police used their FY20 MSEC award to add an all electric patrol car to their fleet.

Funding support to Howard County to transition part of the county’s vehicle fleet from   older gas-powered vehicles (GPVs) and add five new electric vehicles (EVs). The GPVs will be utilized by Howard County’s Fire & Rescue division for occupant extraction training. Recycling these GPVs in this manner drastically reduces emissions compared to if the vehicles were otherwise sold and kept in operation. Expected benefits for these new EVs include fuel reduction of 1,272 gallons or  cost savings of $7,790 annually.

MSEC FY2021 award totals ranged from $3,750 to $55,000, and a full list of awardees can be found here.

Learn more about the latest projects supported by the Strategic Energy Investment Fund here.

Now in its ninth year, the MSEC grant program was created to support local governments as they adopt smart-energy policies and commit to them for the long term.  Communities benefit from sustained reduction of energy usage, cost savings, and additional opportunities for renewable energy development. To date, 78 municipal and county governments have participated in the program.

Funding for the program comes from the Strategic Energy Investment Fund (SEIF), which was created from public auctions of carbon credits through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Click here to see how SEIF funds were used to help MSEC communities in FY20.

The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) advises the governor and general assembly on all energy matters, promoting affordable, reliable and cleaner energy. MEA develops and administers programs and policy to support and expand all sectors of the state’s economy while benefiting all Marylanders and implementing legislation. Please visit  Energy.Maryland.gov and follow them on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter for more information.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties
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