The Army and Lockheed Martin [LMT] last week commissioned a microgrid at Fort Bliss, Texas.
The microgrid is the first Department of Defense grid-tied microgrid incorporating both renewables and energy storage. Currently in its demonstration phase, the microgrid will be linked to the existing power grid, but it will reduce cost and environmental damage, according to a press release from the company.
The economic impact is being measured as the microgrid is tested, but Lockheed Martin expects energy cost savings between 10 and 25 percent, according to Brad Fiebig, program development manager for the company’s Intelligent Microgrid Control System program.
The microgrid will also allow Fort Bliss to maintain power in the event of emergency outages.
“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,” said Army Maj. Joe Buccino, a spokesman for Fort Bliss. “This project represents the future of military energy security.”
The microgrid consists of onsite backup generation, a 120-kilowatt solar array and a 300-kilowatt energy storage system, according to the release.
Lockheed Martin first began the project in 2010 with a contract to implement its Intelligent Microgrid Control System–a program that integrates legacy energy systems and newer, more efficient technologies.
The company said the Fort Bliss project will also serve as an experiment for what future implementation of microgrids will look like.
“The Fort Bliss microgrid will provide the DoD and other government and commercial organizations with the data and confidence necessary to transition microgrid technologies into wider scale use,” said Jim Gribschaw, director of energy programs for Lockheed Martin.