Frostburg State Receives Grant to Build Microgrid and Emergency Shelter

Aug 5, 2022 12:30 PM

Frostburg State University recently received a $750,000 grant from the Maryland Energy Administration to help cover the costs of installing a clean energy microgrid on campus. The microgrid will safeguard critical operations from energy disruptions, integrate an emergency shelter for the surrounding community and meet the University’s sustainability goals.

FSU is the first recipient of funding under MEA’s Resilient Maryland Development RMCD Pilot Program.

In 2020, FSU was awarded funding through an MEA Resilient Maryland Planning grant to conduct a feasibility study and complete crucial preconstruction planning activities to identify a variable model. Through that study, FSU, in partnership with the experienced experts at Optimize Renewables, found the potential construction of a microgrid would not only benefit the University, but also the community at large.

Once constructed, the advanced microgrid will use a control system to manage solar energy technology, thermal storage and advanced heat exchange systems, as well as rooftop and ground-mounted solar arrays and a solar canopy with electric vehicle charging stations. A fuel cell that will be able to heat water for campus, or cool it with an absorption chiller, will also be installed on campus.

The project will also provide clean energy jobs and economic development in Western Maryland. In addition, FSU and Optimize Renewables will provide educational and training opportunities. Working in partnership with area community colleges, a renewable energy training certification program will be developed to provide students and displaced workers the chance to train alongside experienced professionals to develop skills necessary for the energy workforce.

“The energy initiatives FSU is leading are vital for our future,” said Al Delia, FSU’s vice president for regional development and engagement. “The renewable energy microgrid to generate power and safeguard critical energy loads on campus is the first step. Our work will provide cutting-edge education and training to our students and to workers in the region. It will expand economic opportunities while improving resiliency and protect our community in the face of disaster. And, as we face a global climate crisis, all this will reduce our carbon footprint.” 

The MEA grant is the latest initiative in FSU’s dedication to clean energy. As a charter member of the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment, the microgrid project continues FSU’s dedication to sustainability.