Ameresco to Break Ground this Week on Solar and Storage Microgrid at Fort Hunter Liggett

May 26, 2021
Ameresco continues to grow its list of military microgrids, the most recent a $21.6 million project at Fort Hunter Liggett in Jolon, California.

Ameresco, a microgrid project developer, continues to grow its list of military microgrids, the most recent a $21.6 million project at Fort Hunter Liggett in Jolon, California.

Set to break ground May 27, the project is designed to help the 165,000-acre training center achieve net zero energy by 2022, while also fulfilling Army directives to achieve  critical mission resiliency.

The microgrid, designed and installed by Ameresco, adds 3.75 MW of solar and 5 MWh of battery energy storage to the training facility. It is designed to function autonomously with controls and interconnection for new and existing generation and energy storage.

As part of the project, the Massachusetts-based company will upgrade the existing distribution system, which includes automating medium voltage switches so that facility managers can easily control energy intake at various buildings at the facility.

The microgrid is viewed as a way to increase energy security for Fort Hunter Liggett because it separates the base from vulnerable external systems in the event of a power outage on the grid.

This isn’t Fort Hunter Liggett’s first venture into sustainability. Over the last decade, the base has eliminated the need for fuel oil, reduced energy consumption intensity by 63%, significantly reduced propane use, and incorporated ground source heat pumps. This was accomplished by replacing inefficient boilers, furnaces and lighting, replacing them with modern high-efficiency equipment. Its sustainability efforts won Fort Hunter Liggett several Army awards.

The microgrid project “is the culmination of more than a decade of projects, development and planning,” said Col. Charles Bell, 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.”

Nicole Bulgarino, executive vice president of federal solutions at Ameresco, described Fort Hunter Liggett’s improvements as precedent-setting for green resiliency at federal Army bases across the country.

Fort Hunter Liggett is located 150 miles south of San Francisco, in the service territory of Pacific Gas & Electric. The microgrid is the result of a request for proposals issued in 2018.

Other military microgrids by Ameresco

The project is among a growing list of military microgrids by Ameresco. Among them are:

  • A 10-MW military microgrid at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in Parris Island, South Carolina, which is part of a $91 million project featuring energy efficiency and renewables and designed to withstand storms and earthquakes.
  • A $173 million energy improvement endeavor at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, Virginia, which includes a 19-MW combined heat and power plant, a 3-MW battery energy storage system and a microgrid control system.
  • A floating solar microgrid at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, part of a larger $36 million design-build energy project for the world’s largest military base with 50,000 active duty personnel.
  • A $58 million energy resilience project, which includes a microgrid, at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine. 

Read more about military microgrids here on Microgrid Knowledge.

About the Author

Elisa Wood | Editor-in-Chief

Elisa Wood is an award-winning writer and editor who specializes in the energy industry. She is chief editor and co-founder of Microgrid Knowledge and serves as co-host of the publication’s popular conference series. She also co-founded RealEnergyWriters.com, where she continues to lead a team of energy writers who produce content for energy companies and advocacy organizations.

She has been writing about energy for more than two decades and is published widely. Her work can be found in prominent energy business journals as well as mainstream publications. She has been quoted by NPR, the Wall Street Journal and other notable media outlets.

“For an especially readable voice in the industry, the most consistent interpreter across these years has been the energy journalist Elisa Wood, whose Microgrid Knowledge (and conference) has aggregated more stories better than any other feed of its time,” wrote Malcolm McCullough, in the book, Downtime on the Microgrid, published by MIT Press in 2020.

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