ESTCP 2018 Project of the Year Award for Installation Energy and Water

ESTCP identifies and demonstrates the most promising innovative and cost-effective technologies and methods that address DoD’s high-priority environmental requirements.  However, the program’s objective is not simply to validate technologies’ cost and performance, but more importantly to transition successful, high-impact technologies to the field and into the hands of the end-users.  A successful demonstration does not automatically lead to successful technology transition.  There are many factors, (regulations, technology complexity and maturity, incumbent system performance, end-user sophistication, procurement pathways etc.) that create a complex and challenging path for new technologies to gain market acceptance.  While technology demonstrations are a vital part of validating new technologies’ cost and performance, ESTCP works with Principal Investigators to ensure the projects are designed to facilitate technology transition.  Two recent examples of EW projects that both demonstrated and successfully transferred innovative technology to an established procurement pathway are the projects Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Microgrid and Ancillary Services, and Software-Defined Wireless Decentralized Building Management System both led by Anthony Colonnese from Ameresco, Inc.



The objective of the project at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (PNS), was to demonstrate that Fast Load Shed (FLS)-capable microgrid controls and Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) can be integrated with onsite generation at military bases to enhance the security and reliability of electric service to the base and generate cost savings for the government. This project was demonstrated at PNS in Kittery, Maine.bThe main components included 500-kilowatt (kW)/580-kilowatt-hour (kWh) BESS to provide on-demand power capacity during transitions from grid power to island power, a FLS system integrated with the BESS and a variety of existing onsite generation assets to implement a prioritizable shedding scheme and a control system for the FLS to intelligently select the loads to shed in order to balance with available supply. The simulated and live tests met the performance requirements by successfully islanding the Shipyard and maintaining power to all critical loads during “loss of utility” (LoU) event.  The Microgrid Control System (MCS) FLS tripped sufficient load to keep the gas turbine generators online and maintain a steady-state generation and load balance.

The potential for reduction in net energy costs due to revenues from the provision of ancillary services to the local Independent System Operator (ISO-NE) was also demonstrated. The project was well received by the host site, PNS and is continuing to work with the project team to expand the PNS Microgrid under Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPC) to expand the FLS network, increase onsite generation and develop full scale BESS (6MW/6MWh).

The second project demonstrated a new building management system (BMS) architecture. Typically, to achieve the necessary return on investments (ROI) to justify a retrofit project, the installed cost of the system must be low relative to the energy savings achieved. However, for small buildings (<50,000 sqft), the yearly energy usage is usually too low to justify the high installed costs of BMS products currently on the market. The BMS demonstrated under this project significantly lowered total lifecycle cost to 50% of state-of-the-art competitors in the small building sector, enabling ROI that make retrofits possible through performance contracts. The demonstrated BMS is built on a decentralized wireless sensor and control platform, where each device can run its own high-level software and can communicate with any other device on the network. As part of the demonstration, the project also obtained a full site Authorization to Operate (ATO) for the wireless BMS platform at the demonstration site, Tinker Air Force Base (AFB). This is a significant milestone, as it enables further technology transfer. Overall, the project demonstrated 25% electricity savings and 45% gas savings resulting in a simple payback of less than five years. Paragon (the product owner) is currently working with another Energy Service Company (ESCO) for a larger rollout of the wireless BMS platform as part of an ESPC at Tinker AFB.

For such an outstanding execution of both projects resulting in successful technology transfer, ESTCP awarded Mr. Anthony Colonnese of Ameresco, Inc, the Principal Investigator, and his project team the 2018 ESTCP Project-of-the-Year Award for Installation Energy and Water for both the projects, EW-201350 and EW-201410.

Project Teams:

EW-201350: Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Microgrid and Ancillary Services


  • Anthony Colonnese, Sr. Director of Engineering Services, Ameresco
  • Troy Wilsey, Federal Solutions Project Developer, Ameresco
  • Steve Rowe, Senior Services Manager Projects, GE Digital Energy
  • Eliot Assimakopoulos, Microgrid Commercial Leader, GE Digital Energy

PNS Staff

  • Russell Gagner, NAVFAC – MIDLANT – PWD-ME
  • Timothy O’Connell, NAVFAC – MIDLANT – PWD-ME
  • Roger Laplante, NAVFAC – MIDLANT – PWD-ME

EW-201410: Software-Defined Wireless Decentralized Building Management System


  • Anthony Colonnese, Sr. Director of Engineering Services, Ameresco
  • Pat McNabb, Ameresco
  • Julian Lamb, President, Paragon Robotics

Tinker AFB Staff

  • Al Romero, Manager, Tinker AFB


Photo by Ben Zweig