SmartDG+ is a free, online, map-based screening tool sponsored by MEA and PPRP. It is intended to help developers and officials identify promising areas for the location of new wind, solar, and CHP (combined heat and power) projects in Maryland. The tool focuses on screening factors of relevance to 1-10 megawatt (MW) projects—i.e., bigger than rooftop solar. (1 MW of solar requires ~5 acres of land; 1 MW of wind requires ~2 acres. CHP projects are typically located in buildings with large electrical and thermal loads.)
In order to create SmartDG+, PPRP evaluated electrical lines throughout Maryland, gathered publically available data on numerous barriers to project construction, and met with county and utility officials to discuss local priorities and policies of relevance. Combining this information is intended to help everyone save time and make better decisions about where to focus further research.
Renewable Resource Availability:
The linchpin of SmartDG+ is a statewide map of 1-to-4 mile wide corridors surrounding electrical distribution and transmission lines that appear strong enough to absorb 1-10 MW projects. Within these corridors, the tool shows areas that remain promising after various standard screens—involving resource availability, land use, protected areas, and more—have been applied. The screening results are shown as three technology-specific data layers:
Viewers can choose additional screens such as:
Utilities must always be consulted to determine whether a specific project can safely and economically connect to the grid.
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