The U.S. military continues to march closer to its goal of improving base resilience with the announcement of a new prototype microgrid to be installed at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, New York.
The Department of Defense’s (DOD) Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) awarded the $2.83 million microgrid contract to Redflow, which designs and manufactures long duration zinc-bromine (ZBM3) flow batteries.
Redflow has a strategic partnership with Ameresco, through which the energy storage company supplies non-lithium battery energy storage technology for certain Ameresco commercial and industrial projects. Redflow will be Ameresco’s subcontractor on the Stewart Air National Guard Base project.
Located about 60 miles north of New York City, the base is home to the 105th Airlift Wing and its fleet of C-17 Globemaster III aircraft. The base transports relief aid and personnel for combat and humanitarian missions around the world. According to the U.S. Air Force, Stewart Air National Guard Base personnel flew 282 airlift missions in 2022, transporting over 9 million pounds of cargo and more than 3,000 passengers.
A prototype utilizing long duration energy storage
The microgrid, which will repower an existing renewable energy installation on the base, will be a prototype that employs a 1.2- to 1.5-MWh long duration energy storage (LDES) system.
LDES systems can store energy for long periods for future dispatch, often as long as eight to 12 hours. The storage technology will enable the solar microgrid to provide a dispatchable solar plus storage resource for peak shaving as well as improve energy resilience for the base’s critical loads.
Based in Brisbane, Australia, Redflow is participating in the DIU’s Extended Duration Storage for Installations program, which seeks to show how LDES technologies can provide energy resilience and power backup across the DOD’s more than 450 bases around the world.
“LDES solutions hold the potential to deliver significant benefits to U.S. Department of Defense installations worldwide,” said Tim Harris, CEO and managing director of Redflow.
In addition to providing resilience and peak shaving opportunities, the microgrid will contribute to both state and local clean energy goals. The DOD is targeting a 25% reduction in emissions by 2025 while New York state plans to generate 70% of its power from renewable energy sources by 2030.
Laying the groundwork for future projects
Redflow is also providing 2,000 ZBM3 flow batteries for the Paskenta Rancheria tribal microgrid, a 20-MWh large-scale solar plus storage system in California.
Ameresco, which has been very active in the military microgrid space in recent years, announced in August that it had acquired the solar-storage and genset microgrid at Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos, California.
Deployment and commissioning of the Stewart Air National Guard Base microgrid is scheduled for the second half of 2024.
“Together with Redflow, we're energized to witness how this microgrid will bolster base resilience and set new standards for clean energy advancement, inspiring a green and resilient future for U.S. Department of Defense installations worldwide," said Nicole Bulgarino, executive vice president of Ameresco.
If the model successfully demonstrates scalable flow batteries at MWh scale, the DOD could roll it out at other facilities and critical infrastructure sites.
"This groundbreaking microgrid project at Stewart Air National Guard Base exemplifies the deployment of innovative technologies to deliver resilient, sustainable solutions at U.S. military installations,” said Bulgarino.
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