2020 ESTCP Project of the Year Award for Installation Energy and Water

The Department of Defense (DoD) is the single largest consumer of energy in the United States. Among federal agencies alone, the DoD is responsible for 77% of the entire federal government’s energy consumption. It operates over 500,000 buildings and structures with diverse inventory encompassing barracks, commissaries, data centers, office buildings, laboratories, and aircraft maintenance depots. The DoD needs access to secure and reliable energy that is resilient to natural and man-made disruptions and that can support critical loads for multiple days or weeks.  However, most DoD installations are largely dependent on a commercial power grid that is increasingly vulnerable to weather-related events and disruptions due to aging infrastructure and cyber-attack.  

To improve energy security and reliability, installations are implementing microgrid solutions where circumstances justify the investment. A microgrid provides the ability to power an installation, or a portion thereof, independent of the grid, creating a more reliable and resilient energy system. Microgrids combined with large-scale battery energy storage systems (BESSs) can enhance energy security on military installations by facilitating integration of more renewable energy and reducing single-point-of-failure vulnerabilities associated with traditional back-up power emergency diesel generators (EDGs).

To further understand the many benefits of BESSs, ESTCP issued a solicitation topic in FY19 to demonstrate the cost and performance benefits of BESS when integrated with Microgrids. The solicitation topic was designed with phases to include a technoeconomic modeling study (Phase 1), followed by Hardware-in-the Loop (HIL) testing of technologies and control approaches (Phase 2) and then finally field demonstration in Phase 3. The objective of the Phase 1 study was to analyze the economic performance and quantify the impact of BESSs on the reliability of diesel-based microgrids serving critical loads on military installations.

ESTCP selected six projects under Phase 1. All six project teams were provided data from seven installations to perform the technoeconomic modeling study and were required to meet or beat the baseline reliability curve (the probability over time that the critical load will be met by the available resources in the microgrid) for each installation. The teams could select the energy storage technology(s), configuration and operational approach and were provided the installation hourly electric load profile, critical loads, microgrid assets, utility rates and energy market rules and prices.

All six project teams contributed to the advancement of DoD’s understanding of current large-scale battery energy storage technology performance and applications for installation energy resilience, and three project teams, listed below, were selected to proceed to Phase 2 to conduct hardware-in-the-loop testing of their chosen technologies and control strategies. 

The study results showed that Li-ion BESS coupled to on-base PV and a microgrid can significantly lower energy security lifecycle costs compared to a microgrid without battery storage. Emerging technologies, such as flow batteries met the reliability requirements, but are currently more expensive and were not cost effective it most of the installations modeled.  

The assessment also showed that all microgrid configurations modeled in the study outperformed a building-tied EDG architecture, for outages of any duration. Depending on the installation criteria and conditions, models were able to eliminate anywhere from 1 to 3 EDGs and/or UPS in some scenarios and continue to maintain the desired reliability and achieve cost savings.

Overall, BESSs provide flexibility in designing a microgrid to optimize energy security performance and cost and enhances reliability compared to building-tied EDGs. To optimally design a storage-enabled microgrid, one must compare performance and cost trade-offs in the context of mission needs, as the resulting cost savings depend on installation power reliability needs, local electricity market opportunities and utility rate structures, and solar resources, as well as the BESS& costs.

ESTCP synthesized results from all projects and published a report, titled The Value of Battery Storage in Military Microgrids. The report is available for free download on the SERDP and ESTCP website. To learn more about the individual projects and results, visit their product webpages on the SERDP and ESTCP website.

For their significant work and exceptional performance, ESTCP awards the 2020 ESTCP Installation Energy and Water Project of the Year award to 350Solutions, Ameresco and Raytheon. 

Project Teams:

350Solutions, Inc. Ameresco, Inc. Raytheon
PI: Tim Hansen (350 Solutions) PI: Benjamin Lavoie PI: David Altman
PI:Nathan Johnson (ASU) Anthony Colonnese Benjamin Robistow
 James Nelson (ASU) Krystian J. Nowak Leonardo Prosperi
Zachary K. Pecenak (Xendee) Paul Molta David Jeon
Kelsey Fahy (Xendee) Constantine Gonatas Pramod Kulkarni
Bill Chatterton (350Solutions) Eric Winkler Ann Yu
  Heather Takle