(Washington, DC) Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser is celebrating a new project to enhance community resilience in Ward 8. The DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA), in partnership with the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED), the Office of Unified Communications (OUC), the Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE), and the Department of General Services (DGS) were awarded nearly $20 million in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funding to design and construct a microgrid at the St. Elizabeths Hospital campus that will enhance community resilience. These funds are part of FEMA’s new Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities grant program, which invests in programs that reduce the risk and decrease the severity of disaster impacts on communities. The District was selected for the first FEMA-funded microgrid project in the nation and is intended to serve as a national model for future projects.
“For DC to thrive in the face of our changing climate, we must take a comprehensive approach to building resilient neighborhoods,” said Mayor Bowser. “We are incredibly proud of the progress we’ve made on the St. Elizabeth East campus. We set a vision for housing, health care, and entertainment with the Ward 8 community, and today, that vision is coming to life. Now, this new microgrid continues our commitment to create a campus that is resilient and sustainable and that serves the community well for generations to come.”
This project will also allow critical facilities including the new Cedar Hill Regional Medical Center, GW Health, the newly constructed men’s shelter, the District’s Unified Communication Center (UCC), and HSEMA’s Emergency Operations Center to maintain power in the event of a larger outage.
“Under Mayor Bowser's leadership, the District has served as a national model for resiliency, equity, and housing production,” said Deputy Mayor John Falcicchio. “We have worked hard to make St. Elizabeths a resilience campus by advancing affordable housing and homeownership opportunities, the Cedar Hill Regional Medical Center, GW Health, the Entertainment & Sports Arena, the headquarters of Whitman-Walker Health, a new 801 East Men’s Shelter, and now a microgrid that supports Mayor Bowser's goal of making the District of Columbia carbon neutral and climate resilient by 2050.”
Microgrids, which are small grids of electricity that can operate autonomously from the larger grid to provide localized power, have huge potential to be part of a clean-energy transition while still prioritizing reliability. While microgrids can draw on any energy generating technology, they increasingly involve renewable energy sources including solar. They also give consumers more choices about where they get their electricity and improve the safety of electrical infrastructure. That is why they are a key initiative in the Resilient DC strategy, the Climate Ready DC plan, and the Clean Energy DC plan.
“DC’s Microgrid is an excellent example of a project built out of partnership to enhance community resilience” said MaryAnn Tierney, FEMA R3 Regional Administrator. “It is this type of innovation and creative thinking that the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities grant program will continue to support as we make even more grant funding available in the coming years. Congratulations to the District on receiving an inaugural BRIC award.”
As one the world’s 100 Resilient Cities, Mayor Bowser released the Resilient DC plan to ensure Washington, DC has a comprehensive roadmap for mitigating the harmful effects of climate change. Together, with the Sustainable DC, Climate Ready DC, and Clean Energy DC plans, DC continues to serve as a model for other cities to follow.
“The District is proud and excited to be the first jurisdiction in the nation to advance equitable community resilience through a FEMA-funded microgrid project. We have a long history of working with FEMA to enhance our ability to safely navigate a constantly changing threat and hazard landscape. Being selected for this project is a testament to our strong partnership and track record with FEMA,” said HSEMA Director Christopher Rodriguez.