DC seeks Developer for Microgrid at St. Elizabeths Hospital East Campus

July 5, 2022
The project leader would be awarded a 15-year power purchase agreement for the St. Elizabeth’s East Microgrid. The awardee will also finance and own it with an option to eventually transfer services for the project

The Department of General Services for the District of Columbia is seeking proposals from developers to build a microgrid for a new hospital on the St. Elizabeths East Campus in Washington DC.

Three months ago, the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency announced it would fund a $20 million microgrid project to provide on-site energy support for operations at the facility.

The DC DGS’ request for proposal seeks a partner to guide the microgrid development, design, construction, operations and ownership for the project. A pre-proposal conference is planned Friday in Washington DC.

The district was awarded a $15 million grant through the federal government to install and deploy a microgrid. The system will serve several loads at St. Elizabeths, including electric service, heating, hot and chilled water.

The project leader would be awarded a 15-year power purchase agreement for the St. Elizabeths East Microgrid. The awardee will also finance and own it with an option to eventually transfer services for the project.

“While the District hopes it will be able to negotiate an agreement...for the microgrid developer to be the sole provider of energy to the hospital, we make no assertion or promise that such an agreement shall be reached,” reads the RFP guidelines. “The ultimate decision will depend on the terms of the District’s agreement with the microgrid developer and the ultimate implementation date of the microgrid project. The successful completion of hospital construction and start of hospital operations will therefore be critically dependent on the prompt completion of the microgrid.”

The hope from DC leaders is that the microgrid will be sole provider of power for the Cedar Hill Regional Medical Center. Groundbreaking on the city-funded, $375 million project happened earlier this year and completion is expected in 2024, according to reports.

Deadline for the St. Elizabeth’s Microgrid proposals is August 9.

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The earlier release about the DC microgrid at St. Elizabeths did not detail components of the system. Microgrids are on-site or nearby power resources which can include rooftop and solar photovoltaic panels, battery storage, combined heat and power facilities and generators. They can power or provide backup at industrial plants, data centers and mission critical facilities like hospitals, schools and military bases.

DC has a goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.

St. Elizabeths Hospital is the district’s public psychiatric hospital. It opened more than 160 years ago and, now, its western campus is the headquarters for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and various offices, while the eastern side remains a mental health facility.

In addition to Homeland Security, other agencies involved in the St. Elizabeths microgrid award include the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, the Office of Unified Communications, and the Department of General Services.

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(Rod Walton, senior editor for EnergyTech, is a 14-year veteran of covering the energy industry both as a newspaper and trade journalist. He can be reached at [email protected]).

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