Transportable Microgrids for the Military and Other Quick Microgrid News

Jan. 5, 2016
National lab researches transportable microgrid…FuelCell Energy to install CHP fuel cell for Pfizer…Five most read microgrid articles for 2015

The National  Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) reports that is researching a transportable microgrid  with the help of other federal labs, the military, Tesla, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratory and Distributed Utility Associates.

This transportable microgrid, which includes energy storage, is being designed for use at military bases. The goal is to improve reliability, reduce power fluctuations from solar and decrease emissions from diesel generators or other fossil fuels. The researchers hope to put the system on a path toward commercialization by making it more cost-effective and ensuring it passes tests for safety and reliability.

NREL has added a Tesla 500 kW-4 hour energy storage systems and a 200 kVA synchronous condenser to the transportable microgrid.  The project also will use the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory optimization engine DER-CAM  with Schweitzer technology and can easily be set for a wide variety of applications at Department of Defense sites.

Other partners include the PNAVFAC EXWC Port Hueneme Naval Base and Electric Power Research Institute.


FuelCell Energy plans for the installation of a 5.6 MW fuel cell power generation system for Pfizer, one of the world’s largest biopharmaceutical companies.

The fuel cell will provide electricity and steam under a 20-year power purchase contract for Pfizer’s 160-acre research and development facility in Groton, Conn.

The combined heat and power (CHP) offers both a low-carbon output and reliability to the campus. It will operate connected to the grid, but also will be able to island during grid outages and keep energy flowing to the campus.

The fuel cell installation is expected to be fully operational by summer 2016.

“This power purchase model delivers immediate value while increasing electrical reliability by providing the security of on-site power with a financial structure that avoids an investment in power generation assets, and FuelCell Energy installs, operates and maintains the fuel cell power plants,” said Chip Bottone, FuelCell Energy president and CEO.

The fuel cell system will include two DFC3000 fuel cell power plants, each rated at 2.8 MW that operate in tandem to generate 5.6 MW.

The  fuel cells are expected to avoid emissions of 28,900 tons of carbon dioxide and more than 34 tons of nitrogen oxides. Pfizer can retain the renewable energy certificates created by the installation or sell them to   third parties.


2015 was a great year for the growing microgrid industry. Here’s a look at Microgrid Knoweldge’s five most read articles for 2015.

  1. Rumor is True: Oncor Unveils First-of-a-Kind-Microgrid
  2. Hello Local Energy, Bye Old Power Industry, Say New York Regulators with Key Vote
  3. Did Tesla Really Move the Needle on Microgrids April 30? Or Did New York?
  4. NY Prize Stage 1 Awards: Who, Why and What’s it Mean for Community Microgrids
  5. The Electric Vehicle as a Power Plant: A California Utility Shows How it’s Done

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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, 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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