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U.S. Army prioritizes microgrids in new long range climate strategy

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Christopher Neely's picture
Independent Local News Organization

Journalist for nearly a decade with keen interest in local energy policies for cities and national efforts to facilitate a renewable revolution. 

  • Member since 2017
  • 725 items added with 353,702 views
  • Feb 11, 2022
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In the U.S. Army’s new Climate Strategy, a long range commitment to climate and energy resilience, the U.S. Secretary of Defense said there are few threats in the world facing the Army that rise to the level of “existential,” but climate change is one of them. 

“The risks associated with climate change are broad, significant and urgent,” the plan reads. “These risks will impact the Army at all levels: from how and where units operate and train, to how the service as a whole equips and sustains soldiers to fight in multi-domain operations.” 

The plan outlines a set of goals and initiatives for the Army to undertake over the next 30 years, chief among them is a prioritization of microgrids. Currently, there are 950 renewable energy projects, supplying 480 megawatts of power to the Army today, with 25 microgrid projects are “scoped and planned through 2024.” 

At the top of its “intermediate objectives” is a commitment to install microgrids on every Army installation by 2035. 

“In collaboration with adjacent communities and stakeholders, the Army and its partners will invest across all its installations in onsite, backup renewable generation; large-scale battery storage; microgrids; and utility systems updated to current industry standards,” the plan reads. 

I’m not sure it’s “so goes the Army so goes the country” but this prioritization is as clear as an endorsement as any from the public sector on microgrids. 

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Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Feb 12, 2022

Christopher, do you really think the Army would operate a mission-critical forward operations base with intermittent energy? If it's cloudy for a week, they would be toast. Microgrids, yes, but they won't be powered by renewables:

"In 2016 the Defense Science Board (DSB) identified energy as a critical enabler of future military operations. The study noted that battlefield energy usage will likely increase significantly over the next few decades with energy needs of current and future military capabilities and operations likely outpacing improvements to energy efficiency and management. The DSB found that intermittent character of many alternative energy sources do not appear able to keep pace with the growth of the Department of Defense’s (DoD) energy needs, concluding that, “the U.S. military could become the beneficiaries of reliable, abundant, and continuous energy through the deployment of nuclear energy power systems.” SCO invites public comment on the scope of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) during the March 2, 2020 to April 30, 2020 comment period.

Consequently, the DoD’s Strategic Capabilities Office (SCO) launched Project Pele. The project’s objective is to design, build, and demonstrate a prototype mobile nuclear reactor within five years, following the DSB study recommendations. This effort will leverage state-of-the-art technologies and recent advances in nuclear engineering to deliver an inherently safe nuclear reactor. The reactor will be designed to provide reliable and resilient power, while minimizing risk of nuclear proliferation,   environmental damage, or harm to nearby personnel or populations."

Project Pele is led by SCO in close collaboration with the Department of Energy, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as well as with industry partners.

 

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