Ameresco constructs full energy resiliency and infrastructure project at the U.S. Marine Corps Recruit Depot

Ameresco military project

Ameresco keeps making headlines lately, this time completing construction of a comprehensive energy resiliency and energy infrastructure project at the United States Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) Parris Island, South Carolina. The $91 million project, which required no upfront capital from MCRD PI, features resilient distributed energy systems designed to withstand potential storm and seismic conditions.

The Marine Corps depends on Parris Island, the only such training facility on the eastern seaboard, to turn approximately 20,000 recruits into Marines each year to support deployment schedules and maintain its operations. The distributed generation, energy storage, and secure microgrid controls that Ameresco designed and installed there have dramatically enhanced the site’s resilience, giving the installation the capacity to sustain its critical training operations when the local grid goes down. The project also saves the installation $6.9 million in annual utility and operational costs, reduces utility energy demand by 75%, and reduces water consumption by 25%. To achieve these results, Ameresco optimized utility consumption at facilities across the 8,000-acre installation with demand reduction measures.

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MCRD PI initiated this energy savings performance contract (ESPC), which leverages private capital through a Department of Energy contract vehicle, in 2015 with the competitive selection of Ameresco. Ameresco then worked with project stakeholders to replace an aging central plant with a 3.5 megawatt (MW) combined heat and power (CHP) plant and three diesel generators for backup generation. Nearly 20,000 solar modules at carport and ground-mount sites provide 5.5 MW of power generation, along with shelter for more than 500 parking spaces for Depot staff and the visiting public. Ameresco also deployed a 4.0MW/8 MWH battery energy storage system (BESS) and an intelligent microgrid controls to assure power supply in the event of utility failures.

“Resiliency at MCRD Parris Island means providing uninterruptible power in support of critical training operations,” said Nicole Bulgarino, Executive Vice President at Ameresco. “Distributed generation systems like the comprehensive solution we have just built there deliver a layered defense against threats to the power supply. Ameresco is proud to partner with the USMC to lead by example and demonstrate how a military installation can both reduce energy and enhance resiliency with this unique contract vehicle.”

Ameresco will maintain responsibility for the operation and maintenance of these new energy assets for the duration of the 22-year performance period.

— Solar Builder magazine

Something to copy: Montecito Fire Protection District Board supports renewable energy-based microgrid

The Montecito, Calif., Fire Protection District Board of Directors unanimously authorized Fire Chief Chip Hickman to draft a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to proceed with Community Microgrid efforts for the Fire Protection District headquarters and fire stations. This Community Microgrid represents the first building block in the Montecito Community Microgrid Initiative, which will bring renewables-driven resilience to Montecito — allowing critical facilities like fire stations, emergency shelters, and critical water and communications infrastructure to remain online indefinitely, even during extended grid outages.

A Community Microgrid is a new approach for designing and operating the electric grid, based on local renewables and other distributed energy resources (DER) like energy storage and demand response. Although linked to the main electric grid, during a power outage a Community Microgrid can isolate from the broader grid and provide indefinite renewables-driven backup power.

The Montecito Community Microgrid Initiative aims to build multiple Community Microgrids in the area, ensuring the continuous operation of critical and priority facilities in the event of future disasters — as well as providing ongoing energy resilience to a broader Santa Barbara region that is served by a single, and highly vulnerable, connection to the high-voltage transmission system, via the Goleta Substation at the top of Glen Annie Road in Goleta.

“We are excited to explore renewable energy opportunities through a Community Microgrid approach that will make the Montecito Fire Department and the community more resilient,” said Fire Chief Chip Hickman. “The Fire Department is all too familiar with the dangers posed by extreme weather events like the Thomas Fire and the subsequent debris flow. This modern energy system will enable us to better serve the Montecito community, as well as provide much-needed redundancy to our essential service.”

“The Montecito Fire Protection District Board’s unanimous approval of drafting an agreement for a Community Microgrid is a major milestone in moving this Initiative forward,” said Craig Lewis, Executive Director of the Clean Coalition. “In casting a vote to move forward, the Board has demonstrated a keen understanding of the unparalleled economic, environmental, and resilience benefits that a Community Microgrid will bring to Montecito.”

The Montecito Community Microgrid Initiative is led by a Steering Committee comprised of dedicated leaders from throughout Montecito, which Judi Weisbart, VP of Community Relations for the World Business Academy, has helped to assemble. Members of the Steering Committee include Diane Boss, Sharon Byrne, Tom Dain, Cindy Feinberg, Julianna Friedman, Berna Kieler, Lee Lysne, Sara Miller McCune, Cheryl Tomchin, and Mike Weissman.

Supporting the Montecito Community Microgrid Initiative is the Kind World Foundation, which created a generous matching grant of $150,000 for the Initiative. In February, the Zegar Family Foundation made a generous donation toward this matching grant, bringing the Initiative within sight of its initial $300,000 fundraising goal. This funding will support the staging of Community Microgrids in Montecito’s Upper Village, which includes aligning stakeholders, performing engineering and economic analyses, and identifying investors to leverage the tax credits that are available to the parties that will own the Community Microgrid assets and sell energy to the sites via power purchase agreements (PPAs). These funds have positioned the Montecito Community Microgrid Initiative for success in bringing economic, environmental, and resilience benefits to Montecito.

— Solar Builder magazine

EnSync Energy DER systems tie together solar, wind in microgrid at Ohio trucking terminal

Ensync trucking microgrid

EnSync Energy Systems has a lot of interesting concepts for residential and commercial distributed energy resource (DER) systems and Internet of Energy (IOE) control platforms. Its latest deployment is coming via a partnership with WindStax Energy to build a microgrid at a new PITT OHIO trucking terminal in Parma, Ohio.

The microgrid will utilize both solar energy and wind energy generation through a 495-kilowatt (kW) photovoltaic system and eight six-story-tall vertical wind turbines that add 48 kW to the system. These resources will be integrated with EnSync Energy’s DER SuperModule, which houses 730 kWh of energy storage, the Matrix Energy Management system and DER Flex IOE software platform for system command, communication and control. The system will enable the sustainability-minded trucking company to participate in net metering programs, while also providing backup energy during grid disturbances.

EnSync Energy jumps into residential solar+storage, includes ‘peer-to-peer’ energy exchange

“Our multifaceted microgrid projects benefit from a partner like EnSync Energy, whose all-in-one solution has saved us time and brings consistency to the various components,” said WindStax Energy CEO Ronald Gdovic. “Together, we have designed a system that will deliver cost savings and reliable energy to PITT OHIO’s trucking operations.”

“Our ability to easily integrate and prioritize multiple distributed energy resources is recognized as a distinct advantage in microgrid projects, and our market success in Hawaii is now creating opportunities on the mainland,” said EnSync Energy Executive Vice President Dan Nordloh. “We look forward to helping PITT OHIO and WindStax accomplish their objectives of clean, affordable and resilient energy projects for this and other facilities throughout the Midwest.”

Construction has commenced and is expected to finish in the spring of 2019.

— Solar Builder magazine

Solar + storage microgrid being built on Kwajalein Atoll by Hannah Solar Government Services

Hannah solar install

Energy Service Provider, Johnson Controls Federal Systems has awarded Hannah Solar Government Services (HSGS) a contract to design, engineer, and construct the largest solar photovoltaic (PV) system and micro grid controlled battery storage system on Meck Island, Kwajalein Atoll for the United States Army Garrison Kwajalein Atoll.

Part of the Republic of the Marshall Islands is located west of the International Date Line. Kwajalein Atoll is made up of approximately 97 islands, eleven of which are leased by the United States Government. Meck Island is one of the eleven islands of Kwajalein Atoll leased by the U.S. Government and is a U.S. Army installation that contains the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site (RTS).

Near the RTS on Meck Island, HSGS will construct a 2.3 Megawatt (MW) ballasted, ground mounted solar PV system, consisting of more than 8,000 solar modules along with a 3MWh energy storage system. A micro grid system will control the power produced and storage for this energy system. HSGS will begin the installation of this solar PV system and energy storage system in the summer of 2018.

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Johnson Controls Federal Systems currently serves the U.S. Army under an Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC), which is designed to finance energy conservation measures with returns generated by energy savings over time. Johnson Controls Federal Systems was confident in their selection of HSGS to perform the engineering and construction work for this project because, of HSGS’s quality past performance installing multiple solar PV systems, totaling 1.2 megawatts (MW) at Ft. Allen located in Juana Diaz, Puerto Rico, under their ESPC for the U.S. Army National Guard.

HSGS is a veteran-owned business specializing in the design, installation and maintenance of solar PV systems, battery energy systems and microgrids. Serving the government, commercial/industrial, and utility marketplaces, HSGS’s breadth of experience includes projects that span the continental United States as well as overseas.

— Solar Builder magazine

New Jersey water treatment plant now prepped with on-site solar-plus-storage microgrid

EOS energy storage

A 250-kW, 1 MWh Eos Aurora DC battery system was commissioned at the wastewater treatment plant in the Borough of Caldwell, NJ. The batteries are a central component of Public Service Electric and Gas Company’s (PSE&G’s) on-site solar-plus-storage microgrid that will help keep the facility operating during extended power outages. The Caldwell microgrid is part of the New Jersey utility’s Solar 4 All program.

The microgrid includes an Eos Energy Storage system and an 896 kW-DC solar PV system designed and installed by Advanced Solar Products of Flemington, NJ. Siemens Energy Management integrated the Eos Aurora system, solar facility, and existing diesel generator, using the Eos Znyth battery technology as the backbone of the microgrid to reinforce emergency resiliency for this piece of critical municipal infrastructure. Siemens also provided the intelligent control technology to monitor, manage and distribute power across the system.

The solar and battery storage systems are connected directly to PSE&G’s electric grid. Under normal conditions, the solar panels deliver power to the grid and the battery storage system can provide value-added grid services for integrating solar onto the grid and participating in ancillary markets.

The Caldwell wastewater treatment plant microgrid is part of a 3 MW-DC portion of the Solar 4 All program. The initiative develops projects that integrate solar with other technologies to reduce the impact of solar on the grid or to demonstrate reliability and grid resiliency of solar for critical facilities during prolonged power outages. The solar installation, combined with Eos’ long-duration energy storage, significantly extends backup power capacity and emergency operation of critical water treatment capabilities.

EOS energy storage

“One of the goals of our Solar 4 All program is to help support the growth and development of solar and related industries in New Jersey,” said Todd Hranicka, director – solar energy at PSE&G. “So we were especially happy to include the battery technology from a fellow New Jersey company like Eos into a project that helps make our electric system and a piece of critical infrastructure more reliable and resilient.”

Construction of the solar-plus-storage system at the Caldwell wastewater treatment plant was a joint effort between Advanced Solar Products, Eos, and Siemens Energy Management. The Eos Aurora battery system was selected on the basis of its multi-hour duration and the benefits of its simple, sustainable and inherently stable zinc hybrid cathode design.

— Solar Builder magazine