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DEFENSE COMMUNITIES 360

Smart Grids Expected to Play Key Role in Energy Security

  • October 23, 2011
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Officials are exploring the capabilities that microgrids and smart grids can offer installations as a way to reduce their vulnerability to fluctuations on the civilian power grid, Sharon Burke, assistant secretary of defense for operational energy plans and programs, told guests at a conference last week.

“Our installations are 99 percent dependent on the civilian grid, so what happens to the civilian grid happens to us,” she said, according to American Forces Press Service. The department has installed microgrids at a number of bases, with more planned.

“We’re undertaking a number of different research, development, test and evaluation efforts in this area at domestic installations,” she said. “And we’re very interested to see what [we learn] can tell us about how this technology can help us.”

One benefit of improved energy performance will be lower costs, Burke said. Smart grids rely on computers to monitor and regulate the energy produced by utilities and delivered to customers; microgrids are smaller and less automated than smart grids.

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