GE to make military base a smart grid showcase

Niskayuna, N.Y., July 8, 2009 — GE has been awarded $2 million in federal stimulus funding from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) for a smart microgrid demonstration project at Twentynine Palms Base, California.

The base is the world’s largest Marine Corps Base and the premier training facility in the world for Marine operations, drawing military personnel from all over the world for combined arms exercises. GE and the Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP) office at DOD are in the process of finalizing a contract for the project.

GE will design and demonstrate a smart energy management system that enables installations to more optimally manage on-site power generation and energy storage, while interacting with the regional electrical grid in a more intelligent and efficient way. Additionally, GE’s system will provide enhanced capabilities for installations to integrate renewable resources, such as solar energy, to help meet their electricity needs and reduce their carbon footprints.

According to the 2009 Defense Appropriations Act, U.S. military installations consumed 3.8 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity last year, enough electricity to power 350,000 households in the United States.

In addition to high energy costs for these installations, critical defense facilities must operate seamlessly through a power outage or other infrastructure disturbance. These are two key challenges that a smarter, more intelligent grid management system will help to address.

As part of the project, GE will provide an enhanced suite of microgrid control system technologies that will enable a military base to more effectively manage its local energy resources as well as the interaction with the larger electrical grid network.

To develop this new system, researchers at GE Global Research in Upstate New York will develop and incorporate advanced algorithms and computational decision engines into a microgrid controller built by GE Digital Energy.

This microgrid controller will optimize the power generation and distribution within the microgrid. GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms will also integrate many of these advanced technologies into a new supervisory control and software system that can span power generation and distribution as well as major power consumers within the microgrid.

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