We’re excited to announce a new grant to study how microgrids—localized energy systems—can spur economic development in downtown Cleveland. Our support will fund a collaboration between Cleveland State University (CSU), Case Western Reserve University (CWRU), Cuyahoga County and the City of Cleveland to explore how the city might leverage microgrid technology into business growth, by studying energy systems, cost-competitive energy resources and the anticipated development of offshore wind energy.
“The Cleveland Foundation has been a leader in bringing partners together to think differently around energy and how to use our assets and local talent to innovate solutions,” said Ronn Richard, president and CEO of the Cleveland Foundation. “This is another example of collaboration with local partners to advance clean energy as a tool for economic growth and development. Given that no other community has done this to date, this study will help to tease out the possibilities, interest levels, possible costs and impact for our community.”
This grant builds on the foundation’s history of support for an advanced energy economy in Cleveland. In 2003, we helped launch LEEDCo, a nonprofit corporation leading the effort to create the first-ever freshwater wind farm in the United States – right here on Lake Erie. In addition to generating clean energy, the wind farm could bring more jobs in the wind turbine manufacturing industry to our region.
Microgrids not only provide a system to support advanced energy, but can also provide protection from cyberattacks and other system failures by improving connectivity and technology in the city. This latest grant continues the foundation’s efforts to promote technological innovation and connectivity in Greater Cleveland. Our Digital Excellence Initiative, launched earlier this year, provided $200,000 in support to CWRU and CSU to establish an “Internet of Things” (IoT) collaborative, a regional research effort to assess, promote and innovate a vast interconnected network of devices.
We look forward to learning more about the potential benefits that microgrid technology could provide to enhance the security, resiliency, environmental and economic health of our community.