The objective of the Ft. Belvoir Energy Security Microgrid project was to demonstrate the ability to construct a cyber-secure microgrid at a military facility using existing infrastructure. The project utilized existing building generators, temporary mobile generators, and existing electrical infrastructure. The purpose of the project was to prove that a microgrid constructed in this manner can provide cost effective energy resiliency to mission critical facilities and overall cost savings to the base. The microgrid needed to be designed and constructed to support the electrical load during typical workdays while islanded from the local utility. This would prove that the microgrid would still allow the military to support projects and missions during an extended utility outage. The project culminated in a 72-hour demonstration to showcase the microgrid’s ability to island from utility power, black start after a utility outage, support dynamic electrical loads during typical operation at the facility, and return to grid-tied utility power. This report showcases the findings during design and construction as well as operational data captured during microgrid testing and the final 72-hour demonstration.

Technology Description

The project required a cyber-secure, utility grade microgrid controller to monitor and control distributed generation and electrical equipment. The IPERC GridMaster® Microgrid Control System was used to fulfill this requirement and help capture data from the testing. This report details how the GridMaster® met cybersecurity requirements and how it was implemented on electrical and communications infrastructure. The microgrid design required retrofitting and upgrading existing electrical and communication infrastructure to server as the backbone of the microgrid. New electrical equipment was installed in non-traditional applications to support the microgrid.

Demonstration Results

The project cost constraints required that the microgrid be constructed primarily from existing infrastructure. The mobile and existing fixed building generation demonstrated the ability to provide cost effective power generation. Aside from capital investment cost, the project demonstrated that cost savings can be captured for the military facility both by reducing overall energy costs but also reducing the cost that extended utility outages have on tenant missions and projects.

Implementation Issues

Lessons learned from the project were documented to allow the Department of Defense to replicate this project in the future at other military facilities. As a result, challenges during the implementation of the microgrid were documented. Additionally, the specific qualities that make a facility a good candidate for this type of microgrid, for example ease of implementation and cost effectiveness, were documented.