The military’s push to ensure its installations are energy resilient has slowed, according to a McClatchy DC Bureau story which makes its case primarily by pointing out that only a small portion of the solar arrays built on installations over the past decade are connected to microgrids. But while there is no overarching mandate to install microgrids at all installations, efforts to provide bases an “islanding” capability are advancing, the story states.
“I would say things have slowed, but the program has broadened,” said Katherine Hammack, who led the Army’s effort to adopt renewable energy as its installations chief under President Obama. “I don’t see it as a negative. I’m glad that the Trump administration is encouraging the strategy to continue,” she said. Hammack told McClatchy that DOD has solicited bids for microgrids on “many” projects, including one to build and operate a system for Joint Forces Training Base Los Alamitos, Calif., which would help power the facility in the event of a nearby earthquake.
And despite its overstated headline, the story provides other evidence that the services are moving to enhance the energy resiliency of their installations. The Southern Co., which has built 14 solar farms with generating capacity exceeding 400 megawatts at installations in Georgia, Florida, Alabama and Mississippi, now is pursuing opportunities to develop microgrids for the military following its acquisition of PowerSecure. Company officials are “in discussions with senior leadership of the military” about microgrid projects, said Rebecca Gray, the utility’s DOD liaison.
Additional evidence can be found in a new report produced by ADC in partnership with Converge Strategies. It features four case studies of how installations — in conjunction with either state or local investment, or significant participation by local authorities — have deployed a mix of distributed energy resources in combination with a microgrid to enhance their energy resilience.
Photo by Spc. Robert Porter