Major SPIDERS demonstration (DOD Secure Microgrid) update


By: SGN Staff


By Andy Bochman


This post just in from Mr. Harold Sanborn, Program Manager at Construction Engineering Research Lab (CERL), US Army and technical manager for the SPIDERS Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD). I've removed most of the defense industry speak from a longer version you can find on the DOD Energy Blog. FYI SPIDERS = an ongoing DOD distributed energy program and the acronym stands for Smart Power Infrastructure Demonstration for Energy Reliability and Security. ab

Here's Harold:

SPIDERS Phase I has finished the "history tour" as we codify and publish the lessons learned.

SPIDERS results demonstrated additional capability for Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, including:

·         Synchronizing with the utility service power signal while pushing electricity back on to the base distribution system

·         Operational viewing of other circuits in the substation in addition to the one controlled by the micro-grid, and

·         Power factor improvements and the opportunity to test generators at load

The Navy customer (Navy Facility Command Pacific/Hawaii) provided positive and constructive feedback throughout the technical and operational demonstrations at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam (JBPHH). The only item where Navy utility folks have any residual concerns for on-going operations and maintenance is keeping their workforce trained and ready to employ SPIDERS and dealing with new technology after the buzz wears off. Our contractor (Burns & McDonnell) continues the dialog of training and post contract support. Two devices at JBPHH have had heat related challenges, and we're recommending we paint the boxes white instead of Navy utility brown.


To date, there isn't a system owner. Controls, hardware and software are not static and require some continuing education and occasional attention. DoD will face this challenge across the board as we take a collection of electrical appliances and make them a systems engineered smart grid. Oops, did I say smart grid? I meant distributed energy management system. The good news is SPIDERS showed the truth in our motto: do no harm. During our operational demonstration, the software "burped" and the system went back to traditional stand alone back up power. The amazing thing: the 24/7 operators (blue collar Navy civilian) saw the system degrade in their 24/7 ops center without tripping loads or causing other electrical problems. Their after action dialog shows true customer values: a system that does what it says it will do.

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