The US Army and Lockheed Martin commissioned the first Department of Defense (DoD) grid-tied microgrid integrating both renewable resources and energy storage at Fort Bliss, Texas.
The project was funded by the DoD’s Environmental Security Technology Certification Program, and Lockheed Martin received the contract in 2010.
The Fort Bliss grid-tied microgrid is designed to reduce energy costs while providing the capability to operate independent of the electric utility grid when needed to provide energy security.
Events leading up to the commissioning occurred in phases that involved installing hardware, upgrading software, bridging traditional and renewable energy generation sources and ensuring the microgrid operates efficiently. The program now enters its demonstration phase, which is slated to continue through July.
The Fort Bliss microgrid will provide the DoD and other government and commercial organizations with the data to transition microgrid technologies into wider scale use for sites such as defense installations, hospitals, universities, commercial businesses and industrial sites.
The microgrid consists of onsite backup generation, a 120 kW solar array, a 300 kW energy storage system, utility grid interconnection and Lockheed Martin’s Intelligent Microgrid Control System. The energy storage system maintains a steady stream of energy and also stores energy to respond to high periods of energy demand and to produce reliable power.
Besides the microgrid at Ft. Bliss, Lockheed Martin completed Integrated Smart BEAR Power System (ISBPS) and Hybrid Intelligent Power (HI Power) microgrid system contracts last year for DoD. ISBPS equips the Air Force with lightweight, air-transportable microgrid assets to power a mobile air base. HI Power provides the Army a secure microgrid configuration to reduce fuel consumption at tactical operations centers.
Ft. Bliss is also a test site for a new design of energy-saving tents that also save money, fuel and water and feature solar power.