On July 17, 2015, NETL entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the City of Pittsburgh. The initiative is being carried out by several executive and technical teams consisting of representatives from DOE, NETL, and the City of Pittsburgh. Additionally, a number of regional and local organizations that crosscut industry, private-sector, academia, and foundations are partnering in the work being performed under the MOU including: the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Energy, Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), Duquesne Light Company, SmithGroup, RAND Corporation, Allegheny County, Buro Happold, SFPE Foundation, Forest Hills Borough, and Pittsburgh Quantum Institute (PQI). The scope of the activities under the MOU will support Pittsburgh’s efforts to modernize its energy grid through a network of small-scale, distributed energy systems that will:
Having communities organized into districts that are served by locally produced, low-carbon power, can boost reliability and efficiency while significantly reducing environmental impacts in comparison with the traditional method of having power pulled from the larger older generation and distribution grid that is fed by distant power plants and long-range transmission lines. The city is uniquely positioned to implement a network of microgrids because of the topography of Pittsburgh and its preexistent distributed energy sites.
If successful in Pittsburgh, the new energy system will have a variety of benefits for energy generation and distribution including increased reliability, improved economics, enhanced security, improved environment, and accelerated innovation. The concept could serve as a model for other cities adapting to the challenges of a changing energy paradigm and establish the city as a global leader in energy innovation and technology demonstration and deployment. The challenge ahead is to organize those existing distributed energy systems and help them interconnect through new “energy districts” within the city.
By assisting Pittsburgh with the initiatives associated with the MOU, focused on making Pittsburgh a Clean Energy City of the Future, NETL is helping to fulfill its mission to discover, integrate, and mature technology solutions to enhance the nation’s energy foundation and protect the environment for future generations.
Fuel Cell Energy Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) at Clearway Energy Center
2013 Energy Usage Analysis Overview
Southpointe Business Park & City of Pittsburgh's Almono District - Case Studies in Deep Direct Use of Geothermal Energy
Pittsburgh-Danish Energy Exchange
Finding Pennsylvania’s Solar Future
The “Finding Pennsylvania’s Solar Future” project group identified 15 strategies that, if implemented, will enable Pennsylvania to get 10% of its electricity from in-state solar energy.
Seven strategies incorporate development of both grid-scale and distributed systems. Eight strategies are specific to either distributed or grid-scale solar development. The list isn’t meant to be exhaustive, and strategies can be combined to create many pathways to 10%.
Over the next few months, the “Finding Pennsylvania’s Solar Future” project group will develop a strategy support guide. Action items will be identified to facilitate implementation of the strategies presented in Pennsylvania’s Solar Future and determine what additional information is needed to continue to deploy solar to meet the 10% target — and possibly beyond.
DOE Sunshot: Solar in Your Community
The DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) provided prize money through the Solar in Your Community Challenge to low-to-moderate income communities for developing community-based solar projects that have high potential for replication. NETL investigated opportunities and sought funding and technical assistance for these projects in collaboration with several nongovernmental organizations, the City of Pittsburgh, and other MOU partners. NETL, the City of Pittsburgh, and other local and regional partners are investigating opportunities for community solar projects.
DOE Pittsburgh Region Clean Cities Program
Better Buildings Initiative
The Better Buildings Initiative is a national leadership initiative that makes commitments to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings and plants, save money, and increase competitiveness.
Leaders involved in the Better Buildings Initiative include:
Work being done so far through the Better Buildings Initiative includes:
Pittsburgh 2030 District
The Pittsburgh 2030 District encompasses:
Beyond Traffic: Smart City Challenge
While Columbus, Ohio, won the Smart City Challenge in July 2016, Pittsburgh was awarded $10.9 million under the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act to create “smart spines” that will collect data through a network of sensors to help balance traffic through the city, improving regional transportation. Plans call for development of a full range of diverse transportation elements that improve air quality, develop new manufacturing related to smart traffic signals and traffic devices, and help to facilitate electric vehicle use. Powering of the city’s electric vehicles would be accomplished through locally-sourced distributed energy that would be developed under the MOU.
Combined Heat and Power Technical Assistance Partnership
NETL-City of Pittsburgh Partnership Collaborators
Pittsburgh Botanic Garden
This collaboration has received regional and national recognition for its successful collaboration between state and local economic development groups and federal laboratories for economic benefit.