EPRI to Test Military Microgrids with Tranportable Batteries

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EPRI is getting ready to test military microgrids with transportable batteries in its work to create a more standardized microgrid design.

military microgrids

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“Microgrids installed for backup power on military and non-military sites are currently customized according to each site, which result in costly and, at times, lengthy design and installation time periods,” said Robert Schainker, one of EPRI’s senior technical executives and a principle investigator for EPRI’s military sited microgrid projects. “There is a need to demonstrate a standardized microgrid configuration consisting of distributed energy resources easily adaptable to a wide variety of electrical and non-electrical siting requirements.”

Vermont-based Northern Reliability will design and build the batteries for the two military microgrids.

The systems will initially undergo testing at the Port Hueneme Naval Base in Ventura County, California and later be tested and used at a Navy data center.

The tests will examine real-world performance, capital and maintenance costs when the batteries are integrated into the microgrids.  

The battery systems, each 250 kW, 4-hour lithium-ion based units, will be contained in transportable shipping containers. Both are fitted with Navy-approved supplemental fire protection components and incorporate an innovative lithium-ion battery cell off-gas detection device which is integrated with the fire protection/suppression system.

Northern Reliability expects to deliver the battery system to Port Hueneme Naval Base in early 2020.

“Unlike fixed-site energy storage, transportable energy storage systems afford both utilities and developers a wide range of possible applications and brings to the table a whole variety of options for electric blackout recovery, disaster recovery, and weather/fire storm response,” said Jay Bellows, Northern Reliability’s president & CEO

The microgrids will use solar plus energy storage and backup on-site Navy generators.

EPRI finalized its $2 million contract with Northern Reliability in August. The project is funded in part through the California Energy Commission’s Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) program, and the Department of Defense’s Environmental Security Technology Certification Program project (DoD-ESTCP) project.

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About Elisa Wood

Elisa Wood is the chief editor of MicrogridKnowledge.com. 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.