The Secure Network of Assured Power Enclaves (SNAPE) project for the Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP) office was intended to demonstrate a full-scale microgrid system that builds on existing microgrid technologies with an innovative cyber security architecture and a new power generation source control approach. SNAPE would benefit the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) through increased power stability and reliability, decreased energy service costs, and lower costs to install and achieve cyber security certification. Power availability, surety, security, and efficiency would be improved for the 18th Airborne headquarters at Ft. Bragg, NC. Existing energy assets would be available during utility outages. Outages such as those experienced following tornadoes in central North Carolina in 2011 would no longer occur. Opportunities for grid ancillary services such as demand response and peak shaving would be available to offset installation costs. This new architecture and controls scheme would be replicable to multiply the benefits for the DoD.

Technology Description

SNAPE is based on the Assured Power Enclave concept pioneered by Honeywell and PowerSecure. Existing components and communications protocols are configured in a novel way to reduce risks and costs. Capabilities already proven in full-scale microgrid systems include intelligent peak shaving, a cluster-based architecture, ancillary services leveraging, renewable decision making, energy storage, vehicle energy management, and integrated building energy management systems. The new and novel concepts to be demonstrated by this project include: Multiple Secure Enclaves that operate independently with local controls, but also cooperate automatically during outages to improve power stability, availability, and efficiency. A new cyber security strategy that segregates communication networks needed for fast, real-time control for synchronization and stability from those used for external control signals and monitoring. The new approach will minimize the cyber certification burden and reduce the network "attack surface." Grid frequency and load sharing will be set within each enclave through active controls, but load sharing between interconnected enclaves will be through droop control and not require communication. This approach will solve stability challenges encountered with other microgrid frequency control approaches.

Demonstration Results

The SNAPE was only ever able to demonstrate Enclave 1 successfully. The failure to complete the system demonstration was a direct result of several hardware failures, notably the CoGen and the Cooper Switch. As a result of the inability to successfully operate/demonstrate the system, Honeywell was unable to perform data acquisition on the SNAPE as well as several other deliverables for the program that required the system to be operational.

Implementation Issues

The failure to successfully demonstrate the SNAPE was primarily due to the challenges associated with integrating existing assets and infrastructure that are managed under different contracts. Some specific examples of integration challenges that impacted the demonstration project are:  

  • CoGen hardware failures
  • Legal battles over repairs
  • System (software) parameters being set incorrectly
  • Communication across different contract participants