Report | 2013

Advancing Military Microgrids

By Eric Maurer

The U.S. Navy is leading the way in the technical and economic testing and validation of microgrid technology as it looks for new ways to bolster the energy security on Naval bases. Much of the Navy’s leadership in this area will emanate from demonstrations happening on its U.S. bases located in the Southwest. As these bases begin to experiment with the technology, they face several major questions around microgrid design, evaluation, economics, and operation. To begin to address these questions, NAVFAC Southwest worked with e-Lab on the design and execution of a two-day workshop April 16–17, 2013. Drawing on key stakeholders from inside the Navy and experts from outside, the workshop team identified five findings: NAVFAC Southwest is still developing a strategy to implement energy security goals stated by the Department of the Navy; current approaches to renewable energy procurement place emphasis on utility-scale resources, which may not support efforts to bolster energy security through microgrids; investment in expanding controls presents a near-term opportunity to begin to build toward microgrids while mitigating price risk; microgrids connected at the distribution level are likely to incur high transaction costs to enable participation in electricity markets; and several entrenched barriers must be addressed to enable microgrid adoption across the Navy.