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Army garners new award thanks to sustainable energy

A solar energy plant with energy-storage functionality that went on-line in 2018 at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, and a biofuel energy plant at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, have been amongst tasks that helped the Army achieve recognition in 2018 with an award from the Federal Energy Administration Program.

“This was recognition for a tremendous amount of teamwork,” stated Michael McGhee, government director of the Army Workplace of Energy Initiatives. His workplace oversees and facilitates privately-funded, large-scale energy tasks on Army land.


OEI has facilitated $627 million in such tasks on 17 Army installations over the previous 5 years. Most of the tasks permit utility corporations to use Army land in trade for creating electrical energy tasks extra affordably. A few of these tasks will save the Army cash over the long-term, states the Division of Energy award, however extra importantly, additionally they enhance energy safety and resilience.

Growing menace

Energy resilience is a prime precedence for the Army, stated Jack Surash, appearing deputy assistant secretary of the Army for energy and sustainability.

“Uninterrupted access to energy is essential to sustaining critical Army missions,” Surash testified at a Home energy subcommittee listening to Dec. 12, 2018. He went on to say such uninterrupted energy is turning into tougher “as potential vulnerabilities emerge in the nation’s utility-distribution infrastructure.”

This 1-megawatt utility battery that shops energy from Redstone Arsenal’s photo voltaic array in Alabama is the primary of its type for the Army.

(US Army photograph)

Threats to the grid embrace extra refined cyberattacks and extra frequent extreme storms, earthquakes and tsunamis, McGhee stated. In consideration of those threats, present Army coverage requires essential mission actions to be supplied with a minimal of 14 days of energy, which McGhee emphasised is concentrated on the mission-critical infrastructure that should anticipate the potential for long-term energy outages. He added a few Army installations presently even have the power to hold the entire base working for greater than three or 4 days if the grid goes down.

Considered one of them is Schofield Barracks with its biofuel plant that turned operational in Might.

Paradise partnership

The Oahu challenge exemplifies a partnership with a utility firm that helps maximize the worth for an additional social gathering’s funding whereas additionally serving the wants of the Army, McGhee stated.

Hawaiian Electrical wanted to construct a new energy plant. The older ones have been sometimes constructed alongside the shoreline as a result of most people lived there and that is the place the gasoline shipments got here in.

“Unfortunately, that’s also where the strongest effects of a storm surge would be felt in a tsunami or other extreme-weather event,” McGhee stated. So the corporate was wanting to place its new plant on larger floor with extra safety and fewer danger.

Behind the safe perimeter of Schofield Barracks was an apparent selection, McGhee stated.

The biofuel plant offers energy to Oahu throughout peak-demand durations. It has the potential to be decoupled from the grid in case of a grid emergency, McGhee stated, and Schofield Barracks has the primary proper to energy from the plant in such an emergency.

The 50-megawatt energy plant can present 100 % of the facility wanted to hold Schofield Barracks, Wheeler Army Airfield and Area Station Kunia operating throughout a grid energy emergency, in accordance to OEI.

A number of days of biofuel are saved on website on the plant and 30 days can be found on the island, McGhee stated. The plant additionally makes use of common gasoline oil and will even be operated on liquefied pure fuel, offering what he termed as much more resilience.

For emergency energy design, a dependable supply of gasoline and the power to use multiple sort of gasoline is the important thing to long-term sustainability of operations, he stated. Within the case of extreme climate, resupply of gasoline for back-up energy typically turns into an issue, he added, so being able to resupply from a number of sources with a number of forms of gasoline is desired.

“We need something more than just your standard backup of diesel generators, in order to have a more resilient solution,” McGhee stated.

Compelling know-how

One of many issues with energy resilience from renewable-power sources, reminiscent of photo voltaic or wind energy, has been the shortage of potential to retailer the facility to be used when the wind stops or the solar goes down.

Till just lately, storage choices haven’t been reasonably priced.

“It’s not so much the technology has gotten cheaper as it is that the manufacturing has gotten to be more extensive, lowering the unit cost,” McGhee stated of large-scale battery storage models.

“It’s very exciting for us, because we’ve been looking forward to this moment to couple large-scale, utility-size batteries with our existing large-scale, energy-generation projects that we helped develop,” he stated.

The Redstone Arsenal challenge was OEI’s first foray into large-scale utility batteries, McGhee stated, however added a number of extra “are in the works” and could possibly be a part of tasks within the coming yr.

Appearing Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Setting Jordan Gillis stands within the middle of those that helped the Army earn recognition with a 2018 Federal Energy and Water Administration Award, together with to his left, Michael McGhee, director, Workplace of Energy Initiatives. Jack Surash, appearing deputy assistant secretary of the Army for energy and sustainability, is to the fitting of Gillis.

(US Army photograph)

“It’s happening very quickly,” he stated, “Companies are better understanding the technology, but they’re also better understanding the value proposition.” Extra builders at the moment are actively in search of companions for battery-storage tasks, he stated.

“That technology at an affordable price enables so many other technologies and so many design options that weren’t available before.

“Giant-scale reasonably priced battery storage … offers probably the most compelling new choice paths obtainable which are intriguing to enhancing resilience on Army installations,” he added.

The 1-megawatt battery that turned operational on Redstone in February can present energy for two megawatt hours, McGhee stated, and added that future battery tasks are doubtless to be a lot bigger

Further elements have to be added to the Redstone challenge to allow long-term backup energy, he stated. However planning is underway for a possible microgrid that would present sustainable energy on the arsenal for a long-term emergency.

Means ahead

Giant-scale batteries are being evaluated to probably be added to present tasks at different installations, McGhee stated.

For example, 30-megawatt alternating-current photo voltaic photovoltaic energy crops have been working for a few years now on Forts Gordon, Benning and Stewart in Georgia.

Fort Rucker and Anniston Army Depot in Alabama have 10-megawatt photo voltaic tasks which might be a part of microgrids offering energy to the installations.

Fort Detrick, Maryland, has a 15-megawatt photo voltaic challenge with 59,994 panels which were offering electrical energy to the submit since 2016.

Fort Hood, Texas has each a 15-megawatt photo voltaic array on-post and a 50-megawatt wind turbine farm off-post which were offering electrical energy to Fort Hood since 2017. All of those tasks might probably profit from large-scale battery storage, in accordance to McGhee.

“The batteries we are looking at have a relatively small footprint and require little maintenance,” he stated, including, “they’re a very low-touch kind of technology that has tremendous benefit.”

2019 developments?

Pure Fuel could also be a development for the approaching yr, McGhee stated. The price of pure fuel has come down, he defined, making it extra economical to construct smaller utility electrical crops fueled by fuel.

A utility firm in Lawton, Oklahoma, is taking a look at investing in a pure fuel plant together with a photo voltaic array on Fort Sill, he stated. His workplace is working with the utility on a design and they’re starting environmental critiques. If permitted, the undertaking would make the most of an “enhanced-use lease authority” the place the utility firm can be allowed to use the land for siting the pure fuel and photo voltaic crops in return for offering a backup energy functionality to the set up.

This biofuel energy plant at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, turned operational in Might 2018 and within the case of an emergency can present all of the electrical energy wanted to function the set up.

(Courtesy photograph)

A lot of the OEI tasks have used both the enhanced-use lease authority or energy buy agreements to present energy sustainability, however McGhee stated he taking a look at different choices to improve microgrids. Controls that allow energy from crops to be extra effectively utilized to set up amenities might benefit direct Army funding he stated.

Energy Financial savings Efficiency Contracts are an alternative choice. ESPCs contain privately-financed design and set up of kit that gives energy financial savings over time and people financial savings then allow the federal government to pay again the personal funding.

Utility Energy ServiceContracts, or UESCs, may also present providers to enhance set up energy gear reliability, or McGhee stated with extra artistic considering, create microgrids.

“We’re weaving together a collection of authorities that very often are not considered in concert,” McGhee stated. OEI helps garrisons that that will not have the expertise or assets to be working with all of the several types of authorities.

“Our office tries to bring a more integrated solution,” he stated.

Teamwork for readiness

OEI truly acquired the FEMP Federal Energy and Water Administration Award on Oct. 23 from the Division of Energy. McGhee stated he accepted the award on behalf of the various instructions and garrisons that helped coordinate the 11 tasks above. The Army Corps of Engineers Headquarters and Districts and Facilities of Experience, Set up Administration Command, Mission and Set up Contracting Command and Army Materiel Command, together with the Protection Logistics Company, have been amongst organizations that McGhee stated deserve credit score for the staff award.

The award states the tasks generate a complete of 350 megawatts of distributed energy that assist stabilize and scale back the Army’s prices whereas enhancing its safety, resilience and reliability.

“Supporting Army readiness is the No. 1 priority,” McGhee stated. “Our systems are being designed to improve the Army’s installation readiness.

“As well as we’re serving to to modernize the Army’s energy infrastructure, including new applied sciences, and including new protections that assist us be prepared for the wants of tomorrow, to embrace issues like cyber intrusion.”

This text initially appeared on the USA Army. Comply with @USArmy on Twitter.

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