Monday, February 25, 2013

The Future of Naval Installation Energy is Upon Us

As projected several years ago in this great 5-minute video, paving the way for demand management, energy efficiency, microgrids, support for renewables and all manner of support-the-mission, energy security goals (with cybersecurity baked in, to boot).

From all accounts, the folks involved with this initiative are right on schedule and are meeting their objectives. Recommend you keep an eye on this.  Andy

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Climate Warriors Take a Hill: Support for Climate Summits

With all the talk of dwindling budgets, cut backs in weapons systems, and the drawdown in Afghanistan, there is one place were the fight continues and the warriors are unrelenting.   For those who are still deep in denial about climate change, who rationalizes Sandy and Nemo as just part of the grand scheme of weather events, turn the page and look elsewhere.  If you are one who recognizes the impact of the industrial revolution and man’s contribution to the carbon content of our atmosphere then you are in good company.  An op-ed in the Huffington Post by Lieutenant General (R) Norm Seip and Brigadier General (R) Steve Anderson lays out, not the case for climate change, but a step toward a solution. 

Their goal is to encourage a series of climate summits in support of the President’s stated inaugural goals.   They see these events as a means to “give our Armed Forces colleagues, faith and labor group leaders, farmers' unions, insurance and other industry executives an opportunity to join our Commander-in-Chief in implementing proven solutions to this crisis”. The initial summit was speculated about in the Guardian in early January.   In the vision of the two generals, the first event would be supported by Nation-wide community satellite meetings.  It would be intended to identify solutions to ending the political paralysis fomented by business interests that do not want short term profits garnered from profligate carbon emissions to be sacrificed just so we will not have to suffer increased economic and political instability worldwide.  

This is a time for conversation, not conflict.  We need a reasonable discussion without histrionics  I know this will be difficult in the current environment, but National Security requires mature consideration.  This should extend to the current nomination imbroglio. 

    In addition to those focused on the National Security implications of Climate Change, six scientific societies delivered a letter to the White House supporting a climate summit.  If the President is serious about getting serious about climate change, there are more than a few people who have his back.   Dan Nolan

Monday, February 11, 2013

SPIDERS Passes the Test: Operational Demonstration Summary

SPIDERS IMT members discuss start up of 

 The Smart Power Infrastructure Demonstration for Energy Reliability and Security (SPIDERS) Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD) completed its Phase 1 operational demonstration at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam (JBPHH) in late January 2013.  The micro-grid system from the main SPIDERS Human Machine Interface (HMI) is overseen and operated by the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Hawaii Utilities and Waste Water Treatment Plant Station staff.  This portion of the system is located at NAVFAC Control Station C (Pearl Harbor Bldg 41).  A team from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, part of the SPIDERS assessment team, scrutinized controller operations, system status, and continuity of operations throughout the demonstration. Their report will focus on system effectiveness, training and contribute to the Transition Manager’s JCTD deliverables. 

Initial observations indicated the majority of the activities outlined in the operational test plan were executed successfully. The demo’s sequence of activities detailed in the test plan included data collection and measurements.  The Phase 1 effort should serve as a blueprint for all other follow-on microgrid efforts.   Of course not everything was flawless. Outside the parameters of the demo, a communication system anomaly was recorded in the early hours of 23 Jan.  As designed, the SPIDERS intelligent control system reacted  to its fail-safe mode of operation (traditional emergency back-up generation each supplying it’s intended load).  The PNNL independent assessment will provide further detail regarding the results of the demo. 

According to sources, on Friday 25 January, at the conclusion of the VIP observation and tour, the technical management team, the industry team and NAVFAC Utility Services met to discuss contract status, systems support, and potential improvements during the duration of the measurement and verification aspect of this JCTD contract. The concluding remarks from NAVFAC personnel was their appreciation that “the system worked as advertised” and that SPIDERS offered JBPHH technical improvements in their ability to conduct operations.

Not everything was lollipops and cherries.  The Air Force in-kind contribution of a flow battery flopped.  It would seem that some sort of energy storage medium will be required to make intermittent energy production viable for uninterruptible power.  It was reported that the schedule and communications never synchronized with the SPIDERS efforts.  Cost effective, reliable energy storage remains the Holy Grail of the micro-grid challenge.  Air Force, next time, just write a check!

Well done to everyone involved.  The SPIDERS JCTD has been one of the most successful efforts in the DOD energy arena to date.   Perhaps when they are done with this, the whole team could be transferred to work on HiPower and we could finally get a bang for our buck (or 30 million bucks) there!  Take a look at the September 2008 post if you can’t remember what HiPower was.  Maybe someone over at Nightly News could look into that before it becomes a $1B Fleecing of  America.   Dan Nolan

Monday, February 4, 2013

Failure is not an Option! ACORE Keeps up the Fight

The next energy conference of the year will be held on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., February 5-6, 2013 by ACORE, the American Council on Renewable Energy.  It was not clear on the website exactly where the conference will be held, but if Congress is smart, they can rent out their chambers.  They aren’t being used for anything useful right now!

God Bless ACORE for keeping up the fight.  From their website they announced that, “continued inaction should not be an option for the new Congress”.  If we could get congress to see inaction as failure, then we could send Ed Harris  in in his white vest to tell them, “Failure is not an option!”. 

I passed on the first conference of the year, Tactical Power Sources 2013.  It appeared to have the usual cast of characters, so if any of you readers attended, please let me know.  Of particular interest is the status of the Army’s requirements development effort  for operational energy being spearheaded by COL Bruce McPeak , Director, Operational Energy Office, U.S. Army Combined Arms Support Command.  If you have any intel, please share.    BTW, did HiPower have new slides? 

I am putting together a review of SPIDERS Phase 1 operational demo out at Pearl.  I will be composing it  from a forward area, near the CONUS Naval base closest to Guantanamo.  I cannot reveal the exact secret location, but it is in a different time zone, one where it is always 5 O’clock.   This may reflect the coherence of the report, but that has never been an issue in these proses.  Dan Nolan