The US Army has commissioned the first US Department of Defense (DoD) grid-tied, intelligent energy microgrid, during an official ceremony at Fort Bliss in Texas.
Built by Lockheed Martin under the DoD's environmental security technology certification programme, the microgrid is designed to help the army lower overall greenhouse gas emissions and energy costs, while also providing the capability to operate independent of the electric utility grid when required to offer energy security.
Accomplished after hardware installation, software upgrade, bridging of conventional and renewable energy generation sources and ensuring efficient microgrid operation, the commissioning marks the start of a demonstration phase scheduled to continue through July.
Fort Bliss spokesperson major Joe Buccino said the microgrid would help reduce the army's carbon footprint, and also allowing for off-the-grid operation as the service enters an age of emerging threats and cyber warfare.
"We are assuming an unacceptable measure of risk at fixed installations of extended power loss in the event of an attack on the fragile electric grid," Buccino said.
Lockheed Martin energy programmes director Jim Gribschaw added: "The Fort Bliss microgrid will provide the DoD and other government and commercial organisations with the data and confidence necessary to transition microgrid technologies into wider scale use."
The company had secured a contract for demonstration of an intelligent microgrid at the army's Brigade Combat Team complex at Fort Bliss, in 2010.
Equipped with onsite backup generation, a 120kW solar array, a 300kW energy storage system, utility grid interconnection and Lockheed's intelligent control system, the microgrid can reduce costs and maintain a steady stream of energy, as well as storing energy for responding to peak demand and for reliable power production.
Lockheed has also completed development of an integrated smart BEAR power system (ISBPS) and hybrid intelligent power (HI Power) microgrid systems for the US Air Force and Army in 2012.
Image: US Army officials during a ribbon-cutting ceremony to unveil the first microgrid at Fort Bliss in Texas, US. Photo: courtesy of US Army.