Tooele Army Depot in $1.7 Million Contract for Microgrid Project

The Tooele Army Depot in Tooele, Utah, has announced it will install a 1MW/1MWh grid-tied battery storage system that will serve as a critical component of the facility’s self-sufficient microgrid, providing the depot with energy security and resiliency.

Go Electric Inc. was awarded the contract by Perini Management Services Inc., which will oversee the project. According to foresternetwork.com, PMSI will interconnect Go Electric’s new generation of battery energy storage system (BESS) to TEAD’s existing 46 kV line. Go Electric’s advanced BESS includes its 1MW lithium-ion battery and its patented AutoLYNC microgrid controller, enabling TEAD to manage and optimize multiple alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC) distributed energy resources.

Go Electric will also provide engineering and design services, and will support commissioning of TEAD’s microgrid system.

There are several aspects of such a project to contemplate before going the microgrid route, however. According to elp.com, during preliminary discussions regarding whether or not a microgrid is right for a certain facility, consider the following:

  • What local regulations/policies are in place that could help or hinder a microgrid implementation?
  • Are there multiple critical facilities in the immediate area that have a need for uninterrupted power?
  • Would owners of these facilities or the local community or both support the implementation of a microgrid?
  • Are there large thermal loads within the footprint?
  • Are the facilities being considered for the microgrid within a well-defined geographic territory, potentially amenable to being connected through an existing or new electrical network?
  • For resiliency purposes, does the selected location have experience with prolonged outages (due to nature or person-based events)? Is it subject to highly unreliable service?
  • Are there potentially utility or load-serving entities that would support a microgrid study?

There are also several factors that should be taken into account when considering the implementation of a microgrid.

Microgrid project managers — above all — should remember that technical and feasibility studies require financial and time commitments. A full-fledged study must be performed (as opposed to high-level calculations) to reveal microgrid structure, layout, size, costs and potential challenges.

“When starting to plan for a microgrid implementation, utility support is essential. Collaboration can help ensure a reliable electrical system design and provide mutual benefits. For example, leveraging existing generation and distribution systems could help reduce technical complexities and reduce investment needs. Higher values can be accrued to microgrids if they also help defer utility expenditures on substations or T&D and if they contribute to system reliability and service quality. Microgrid value propositions also can be improved with participation of microgrid assets in utility demand response programs and independent system operator capacity, energy and ancillary markets.”

Other military bases and training centers have also tested or implemented microgrid recently. In April it was announced that the Department of Defense planned to conduct a microgrid demonstration at Fort Custer Training Facility in Augusta, Michigan. And in March, the Air Force Research Laboratory announced it has initiated the design of  a renewable energy microgrid laboratory, which is part of an ongoing effort to demonstrate new ways in which military facilities can meet their own energy needs.

A report by Navigant Research says the microgrid market will reach nearly $20 billion in annual revenue by 2020. A report by Deloitte says the current microgrid market stands at $1.5 billion with the biggest users being universities, the military and community/residential.

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