Tuesday, May 28, 2013

DOD Energy Security Milestone: Announcing Fort Bliss's New Microgrid

Microgrid research is being conducted at a bunch of DOD installations: Naval District Washington (NDW), the Marines' 29 Palms base in California, Joint Base Pearl-Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii and Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, to name a few.

But Fort Bliss decided it was ready for one of its own, and with a little Federal funding help, decided to get on with it and build one of its own. It's a win on several fronts, including energy security in the event of local or regional black out, so in a time of distress when you most need them, the military (or at least this part of it) will be up, running, and ready to respond.

Here's how Stars and Stripes puts it:
Part of the El Paso, Texas, base now runs on what's called a microgrid, an emerging technology that makes the system more energy and cost efficient by harnessing solar power and storing energy for future use. But the microgrid, which is the first at a DOD installation, is as much about security as it is the environment and cost savings. 
The system decentralizes how power is sent across the base, ensuring that a major power outage doesn't affect critical operations. At Bliss the microgrid is powering the Brigade Combat Team complex, which can now run in an emergency without the base's main power supply and instead use the back-up energy provided by the microgrid's 300-kilowatt storage system.

Research is one thing; deployment quite another. Different lessons get learned in both approaches. But it's certainly good to see a real microgrid in action.*  Hopefully there'll soon be many more.


URL for full article:


URL for recent DOD Energy Blog post on NDW:


* URL for article on existing microgrids at Fort Detrick, MD and Dahlgren, VA:



Andy Bochman said...

I've since received numerous emails from readers telling me about other bases besides those mentioned in this post that have true microgrids, so please consider Fort Bliss "another one." For more complete info, some sharp analysts have compiled a list of all similar projects in DOD/Fed. Recommend you contact:

Erik Limpaecher
MIT Lincoln Laboratory
Energy Initiative

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