Ameresco Tests GE Microgrid Controller at Shipyard; Positions in Government Market

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Ameresco says it has successfully tested a GE microgrid controller at a naval shipyard in Maine, another move by the independent energy efficiency company into the government microgrid market.


Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. Courtesy of Ameresco

With a $3.65 million grant from the Department of Defense, Ameresco has installed a microgrid at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery.

In a simulated, base-wide grid outage the GE microgrid controller shed nonessential loads and powered mission-critical systems through two test runs.

The GE microgrid controller features a ‘fast load shed’ system that selects which loads to shed in balance with the site’s distributed generation. This was the company’s first project using the fast load shedding feature, according to Anthony Colonnese, Ameresco’s director engineering services for federal solutions

The microgrid also includes a 500 kW/580kWh battery for storage, a 10-MW combined heat and power plant and emergency back-up generation totalling 4 MW.

Ameresco is moving into microgrids with an eye toward government, particularly federal projects, for years a central play for the Massachusetts-based energy performance contractor.

“Ameresco’s microgrid work has thus far focused more on the federal market because of federal interest in energy resiliency and because these microgrid projects can be incorporated into our federal energy savings performance contracting (ESPC) projects,” Colonnese said. “However, we have worked with non-federal customers as well, most notably municipalities.”

The Portsmouth microgrid is designed with several purposes in mind, among them:

  • Provide a cost-effective way to ensure military energy security
  • Enhance reliability of electric service to the base
  • Sell ancillary services to the grid, a potential new revenue stream for the navy yard

“GE’s Microgrid Solution will empower the U.S. Navy to achieve its energy surety goals by being able to continue operating their facilities in an uninterrupted manner in the event of a grid outage,” said Jayant Kumar, a GE global smart grid program director. “This successful live test clearly demonstrates that this capability is achievable and we look forward to continue to support the Department of Defense in achieving these goals.”

The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard is one of four remaining naval shipyards in the nation. It is located about 50 miles from Boston.

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About Elisa Wood

Elisa Wood is the chief editor of She has been writing about energy for more than three decades for top industry publications. Her work also has been picked up by CNN, the New York Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal Online and the Washington Post.


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