Microgrids hold strong appeal for the United States Department of Defense (DOD). Microgrids can reduce the amount of fossil fuels consumed to create electricity by networking generators as a system, and can help integrate renewable energy resources (such as wind and solar) for military installations.
Perhaps most importantly, microgrids enable military bases — both stationary and forward operating bases (FOBs) — to sustain operations, no matter what is happening on the larger utility grid or in the theater of operations. According to a recent report from Navigant Research, annual revenue from microgrids for stationary military bases and FOBs will reach $377.8 million by 2018.
“The DOD’s interest in improving energy security through microgrid technology stems from its heavy reliance upon all forms of fossil fuels,” says Peter Asmus, principal research analyst with Navigant Research. “In addition, the DOD has reexamined the existing electricity service delivery model in the United States, and has concluded that the best way to bolster its ability to secure power may well be through microgrid technology it can often own and control.”
The report identifies about two dozen military facilities in the U.S. that are currently engaged in smart microgrid implementations. The Marines show the fastest initial capacity growth spurt, but the Army shows signs of longer-term increases in annual capacity. This is because the Army has a larger number of stationary bases suitable for microgrid upgrades.