Written by: Leonard Parker | Solar News | 28th May
Ameresco announces an upcoming groundbreaking of its electrical distribution microgrid at Fort Hunter Liggett in Monterey County, California. To support USAG Fort Hunter Liggett’s goals to achieve Net Zero Energy, while also attaining U.S. Army Directives to achieve Critical Mission Resiliency, the $21.6 million project will include the design and installation of a secure, islandable and autonomous microgrid with controls and interconnection for new and existing generation and storage systems at the 165,000-acre U.S. Army Reserve training center.
Construction groundbreaking of the project marks a significant step forward for the Army base and works toward its goal of reaching net-zero energy use by 2022. The new microgrid system will improve energy security for Fort Liggett by separating it from more vulnerable external systems in the event of a loss of utility grid power. It will also enable the base to only deploy as much energy as is needed thanks to the addition of the system’s 3.75MW photovoltaic generation, 5MWh batteries, and Microgrid Control System. Ameresco will upgrade the existing customer distribution system that includes automating medium voltage switches, so Fort Hunter Liggett’s facility managers can easily and efficiently control energy intake at various buildings at the facility.
“Working with the team at Fort Hunter Liggett has been an immensely rewarding experience as the improvements implemented at their base set a precedent for future green resiliency enhancements at Federal Army bases across the country,” said Nicole Bulgarino, executive vice president of Federal Solutions at Ameresco. “We’re eager to continue building on this success by utilizing the most current energy technologies available and creating a cleaner and sustainable future.”
The start of the microgrid project “is the culmination of more than a decade of projects, development and planning,” said Col. Charles Bell, FHL Garrison Commander. “The idea began here, and was not tasked to us from higher up. It shows how forward-thinking our team is to generate DoD-wide projects at the grassroots level. It is a huge win.”
The installation is recognized as a leader in its energy, waste, and water resiliency and sustainability programs, and has won several Army awards. In the past decade, FHL has eliminated the need for fuel oil, reduced energy consumption intensity by 63 percent, severely reduced propane use, and has incorporated ground source heat pumps. This was accomplished by replacing inefficient boilers, furnaces, and lighting, replacing them with modern high-efficiency equipment.