First-ever military microgrid demonstration marks next phase in the market

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By: SGN Staff

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Quick Take: We've been telling you about the pending move to microgrids for years. And we've been saying that the U.S. military would lead the way. The military has all the usual reasons to be interested in microgrids, plus the additional motivator of national security. Microgrids offer energy self-sufficiency and a way to keep operating even if the main grid goes down.

 

We've previously tracked various experiments. Now the U.S. Army has officially launched its first grid-connected microgrid demonstration at Fort Bliss in Texas. You can read more about it in the press release below from contractor Lockheed Martin.

 

If successful, I predict this project will mark the beginning of a military microgrid growth phase. Give it a year or 18 months to prove out. At that point, I think you can expect bases everywhere to want their own version.

 

There's big money at stake. Jim Galvin, energy and water program manager for the Defense Department's Environmental Security Technology Certification Program, told the El Paso Times that the Pentagon spends $4 billion a year to power 300,000 buildings at 500 military installations across the world. That's a lot of microgrids. - By Jesse Berst

 

U.S. Army and Lockheed Martin commission microgrid at Fort Bliss

U.S. Army and Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) officials commissioned the first U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) grid-tied microgrid integrating both renewable resources and energy storage during a ribbon cutting ceremony today at Fort Bliss, Texas. The project was funded by the DoD's Environmental Security Technology Certification Program.

 

The Fort Bliss grid-tied microgrid is designed to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions and energy costs while providing the capability to operate independent of the electric utility grid when needed to provide energy security.

 

Events leading up to today's commissioning occurred in phases that involved installing hardware, upgrading software, bridging traditional and renewable energy generation sources and ensuring the microgrid operates efficiently. The program now enters its demonstration phase, which is slated to continue through July.