Individual microgrids are gaining credibility as a source of alternate power during times of utility grid stress -- allowing mission-critical operations to stay up and running.
So, imagine the positive impact that could be felt by linking several of them together across a region.
That's what the U.S. Navy is doing in San Diego, where it is creating what is being billed as the military's first secure, centrally managed microgrid.
Specifically, the Navy is investing in software from Power Analytics Corp. to connect and manage three separate installations: at the hospital at Naval Base San Diego, a data center at Naval Base Coronado and at Naval Base Point Loma.
It hasn't revealed the size of the contract, but one news report values it at $2 million over the next three years.
All three sites are equipped with onsite solar generation technology, energy storage and grid controls. The software will allow each facility to be controlled from the Naval Base San Diego Utility and Energy Operations Center. It will stabilize the power sources and make it easier to integrate additional clean energy capacity in the future, says Power Analytics.
"We're excited to help the Navy maximize the effectiveness of its existing power system and easily integrate more renewable energy sources," says Karen Cronin, vice president for Power Analytics. "Through this project, Power Analytics will provide the capability to share power resources across the bases, allowing them to have both a more reliable power system and reduced energy costs."
San Diego-based Power Analytics is a longtime partner of the Navy: Its software is used on ships to manage self-contained nuclear or diesel generation resources.
It also happens to be the company that designed the three separate microgrids now being linked together.
Microgrids also are getting a lot of support in Connecticut, where nine projects across the state have been awarded $18 million as part of a statewide strategy to keep critical buildings up and running during utility grid outages.
And in July, Standard Solar and Solar Grid Storage installed one of the first commercial-scale microgrids in the U.S. It's in Maryland, supporting a solar array.
Navy image by Gary Blakeley via Shutterstock.