Fort Bliss microgrid enters demonstration phase
The first US Department of Defense (DoD) grid-tied microgrid integrating both renewable resources and energy storage has been officially commissioned by the US Army and Lockheed Martin. The microgrid, funded by the DoD's Environmental Security Technology Certification Program, is located at Fort Bliss, Texas.
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.
Lockheed Martin received the contract to demonstrate an Intelligent Microgrid at the US Army's Brigade Combat Team complex at Fort Bliss in 2010. The microgrid consists of onsite backup generation, a 120 kilowatt solar array, a 300 kilowatt energy storage system, utility grid interconnection and Lockheed Martin's Intelligent Microgrid Control System. The energy storage system is especially critical in lowering cost and maintaining a steady stream of energy. The system also stores energy to respond to high periods of energy demand and to produce reliable power.
The programme now enters its demonstration phase, which is slated to continue through July.
Maj Joe Buccino, Fort Bliss spokesperson, said: ‘We are excited to lead the army in energy efficiency. This microgrid supports Fort Bliss' Environmental Campaign Plan, aimed at reducing our carbon footprint. This cost-effective project will incorporate renewable energy sources, lowering our electric output. The tactical utility of this technology is its ability to allow us to operate off the grid. We are entering an age of emerging threats and cyber warfare. We are assuming an unacceptable measure of risk at fixed installations of extended power loss in the event of an attack on the fragile electric grid. This project represents the future of military energy security.’
Jim Gribschaw, director of energy programs at Lockheed Martin, added: ‘The Fort Bliss microgrid will provide the DoD and other government and commercial organisations with the data and confidence necessary to transition microgrid technologies into wider scale use. Microgrids are the key to an energy efficient and secure future for sites such as defence installations, hospitals, universities, commercial businesses and industrial sites.’
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