Schneider Electric, Black & Veatch Finish Miramar Microgrid

March 16, 2021
Schneider Electric and Black & Veatch have finished installing a microgrid they designed and built at the Marine Corps’ Air Station Miramar in San Diego.

Schneider Electric and Black & Veatch have finished installing a microgrid they designed and built at the Marine Corps’ Air Station Miramar in San Diego.

The microgrid was tested during a full-scale energy resilience readiness exercise to assess its resilience and reliability as well as whether it could keep operations up and running at full loads, the companies said March 10.

The microgrid at the 23,000 acre air base, home to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, has on-site generation, including 4 MW of diesel, 3 MW of natural gas, 3.2 MW of landfill gas and 1.3 MW of solar. It also has demand response capabilities. 

The microgrid is part of the US military’s effort to make sure its facilities have secure power supplies, partly through the use of microgrids.

During the daylong simulated power outage in June, the microgrid disconnected from the grid and all operations were successfully carried out throughout the base’s roughly 100 critical buildings and flight line.

Microgrid used to support SDG&E during outages

The microgrid was also used twice in the fall when it was dispatched to support San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), which was struggling to meet its peak loads, the companies said. During public safety power shutoffs — planned power outages used to reduce the risks of wildfires — the Miramar microgrid allowed SDG&E to maintain electrical service to thousands of homes that would have otherwise been curtailed, according to Schneider Electric and Black & Veatch.

“This microgrid system not only strengthens resilience with the ability to support our station with energy for up to 14 days, but it’s enabling us to significantly lower emissions,” said Mick Wasco, the base’s energy manager. “We’re excited to take this major step integrating renewable energy into our mission and making [Marine Corps Air Station] Miramar one of the most energy resilient defense facilities in the nation.”

The microgrid is operated out of the air station’s energy and water operations center where managers have direct visibility of the microgrid control system, which uses Schneider Electric’s “supervisory control and data acquisition” software and a certified network to connect field devices into the system, according to the companies.

Using a $5 million grant from the California Energy Commission, Schneider Electric is adding a 2-MW/2-MWh lithium ion battery storage system and a 1.6-MW heating, ventilation, air conditioning demand response system to the microgrid. The upgrade is expected to be completed next year.

The Marine Corps plans to use the battery system to reduce demand charges.

Read more about the Miramar microgrid and other military microgrids here.

About the Author

Ethan Howland

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