The White House last week announced a series of executive actions, along with state and private sector commitments, to scale up microgrids, energy storage and renewable energy throughout the nation.
The actions covered by the announcement, which included a handful of projects on military bases, are expected to result in at least 1.3 gigawatts of additional storage procurement or deployment in the next five years, according to a White House fact sheet.
The White House released the list of initiatives in conjunction with a summit it hosted on energy storage and microgrids that drew energy developers, power companies, municipalities and regulators. Military projects intended to enhance energy resiliency by increasing storage and microgrid capacity include:
- a new 50-100 megawatt grid-scale battery project that will be developed by a third-party at Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach, Calif.;
- a new 7-megawatt solar photovoltaic system with a 6-megawatt — 18-megawatt-hour — battery system that will be developed by a third-party on the local grid at Naval Base Ventura County, Calif. The project will serve the base during electric outages, covering more than 65 percent of the base’s peak loads for up to 3 hours;
- a pilot project in Indiana involving Naval Support Activity Crane, Duke Energy and other stakeholders will repurpose the Navy’s fleet of decommissioned submarine batteries into distributed energy resources to serve mission critical loads. If the battery fleet is repurposed rather than recycled, the Navy’s overall battery capacity is projected to grow to 44 megawatt-hours by 2019.
- the Air Force Research Laboratory and the Hawaii Air National Guard announced the launch of the design phase of a new distributed energy microgrid project at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. The project will demonstrate the ability to integrate and demonstrate multiple renewable energy and energy storage technologies, and provide the ability to power critical mission assets during energy disruptions;
- the Air Force announced the launch of the Forward Operating Base of the Future project at Joint Base San Antonio. The project will integrate renewable energy, energy efficiency and energy storage technologies into a simulated deployed environment. The project is expected to reduce the amount of fuel required to power forward operating bases by more than 85 percent.
Separately, the White House Council of Economic Advisers released a report that found that current and projected levels of variable renewable energy resources are opening up opportunities for technologies such as energy storage and demand response to ensure the reliable and cost effective supply of electricity. Ongoing cost reductions and advancements in communication infrastructure are expected to further enhance the potential for these technologies going forward, the report concluded.
Matt Roberts, executive director of the Energy Storage Association, praised the White House effort, but also warned that regulatory barriers lie ahead for the technology.
“Markets need to be structured to reward system performance and not favor incumbent interests over innovative solutions,” he told Microgrid Knowledge. “We also need to expand efforts to create truly integrated resource planning that incorporates the full range of benefits that assets like energy storage provide — properly valuing energy storage systems as a power, energy and non-transmission alternative.”