The U.S. military, looking for ways to counter the threat of blackouts, announced this week that it tapped microgrid support software provider Xendee to reduce energy system engineering costs with optimized, scalable microgrid designs for its installations.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has identified microgrids as a critical technology for increasing security, energy efficiency, and resilience at military installations, albeit with proper planning, design, deployment, and administration.
“Microgrids can reduce military installations’ energy and physical footprint and increase resiliency,” Michael Stadler, CTO and co-founder of Xendee, said. “They lessen dependence on fuel supplies and their impacts on local communities while improving uninterrupted power. This is all without disruptions to local utility networks. Through Xendee’s ability to streamline the microgrid design process while cutting costs and increasing efficiency, these three-site demonstrations confirm the value that Xendee’s tool can offer to a military audience.”
So far, Xendee has deployed its microgrid software at three sites: the Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, USAG Bavaria, and The Naval Base San Diego. In each case, the platform assessed technologies such as solar, battery storage, diesel generators, heat pumps, Combined Heat and Power engines, as well as cable and transformer upgrades, then analyzed and optimized the best path for investment, placement, and dispatch.
At Kings Bay, resilience and installation upgrades focused on feasibility, return and alternatives were key. Meanwhile, at USAG Bavaria in Germany, the system focused on a full electrical heating system and optimizing investment, placement, dispatch, financial analysis, power flow engineering, and training for Army staff. Lastly, the San Diego project tested how an onsite microgrid could reduce costs and up efficiencies compared to running new cabling.
In working with Arizona State University, Xendee also helped create a DoD-specialized and Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification-approved curriculum accompaniment, at the same time, to train service members in the new software.
“Our primary objective was to train uniformed and civilian military personnel on a standardized, repeatable process for building and interpreting microgrid models,” Nathan Johnson, associate professor in The Polytechnic School at Arizona State University and director of the Laboratory for Energy And Power Solutions (LEAPS), said. “Additionally, by mapping the training program and certificates to military job codes, ASU and Xendee have created a pipeline for training and deploying DoD certified users at scale.”
According to those involved, the technology successfully streamlined microgrid design and implementation, saving engineering time and removing the burden and risks involved in transferring data between systems, resulting in average costs for even the most complex modeling at less than 1 percent of total project costs.