Microgrids allow the government to improve physical and cyber energy security, report findsA new report from Navigant Research examines the market for military microgrids deployed by the US Department of Defense (DOD).
The DOD is the single largest consumer of petroleum in the world, and in order to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and improve both physical and cyber energy security, is exploring the use of microgrids. At the same time, the DOD can also use microgrids to reduce the $4 billion it spends on energy across its 523 installations and 280,000 buildings.
“The DOD has played a remarkably consistent role in commercialising new technologies that provide tremendous social benefits within the larger civilian realm of society, including microgrids,” says Navigant Research principal research analyst, Peter Asmus.
“Perhaps the biggest impact the DOD could have on future microgrid growth globally is in the developing world.”
According to the report, remote power systems may be able to offer a new model of grid infrastructure that is particularly relevant as Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands rebuild in the wake of recent hurricanes.
The Trump administration’s emphasis on increasing DOD budgets, as well as simmering tensions with North Korea, could also provide fresh rationales for larger investments in military microgrids, both within the US itself and internationally.
The report analyses the market for military microgrids deployed by the US DOD in three key segments: stationary bases, forward operating bases (FOBs), and tactical mobile systems.
Military microgrids expansion
In mid-October it was announced that the 10-MW military microgrid in the California city of Twentynine Palms would undergo a $7.8 million expansion as part of long-term plan to achieve energy independence.
“This project is a great milestone for NAVFAC [Naval Facilities Engineering Command] and the Marine Corps that will provide MCAGCC [Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center] Twentynine Palms with the technologically advanced infrastructure it deserves, that will support their mission for many years to come,” said William Moreno, NAVFAC Southwest project manager.
Under this project, the microgrid will be expanded throughout the base. Additionally, the microgrid will be able to continue operations without any disruption or downtime if the base loses local grid power. This through the full integration and automation of two combined heat and power (CHP) plants and all renewable energy systems.
The scope of the project will encompass work on conductors, circuit breakers, substations transformers, SCADA systems, fiber communication lines, relays, high voltage breakers, associated software programming and ancillary built-in equipment.