Duke Energy Proposes 7-MW Military Microgrid at Indiana National Guard Camp

Nov. 1, 2017
Duke Energy has proposed a 7-MW military microgrid at the Indiana National Guard’s Camp Atterbury training operation in Johnson County, along with battery storage at a substation in Nabb.

Duke Energy has proposed a 7-MW military microgrid at the Indiana National Guard’s Camp Atterbury training operation in Johnson County, along with battery storage at a substation in Nabb.

The utility giant is seeking pre-approved cost recovery for both projects before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. If okayed, the microgrid will be the first at a national guard facility in Indiana.

In the petition filed October 30 with the commission, subsidiary Duke Energy Indiana said that the proposed microgrid will include about 2 MW of solar and a 5 MW/5 MWh battery system. The Nabb battery system also will be sized at 5 MW/5 MWh.

“Given our recent success with the installation of a 17-MW solar power plant at Naval Support Activity Crane, we were eager to find another opportunity to join with the U.S. military to incorporate new technology into our grid operations,” said Melody Birmingham-Byrd, Duke Energy Indiana state president. “The project at Camp Atterbury will help us gain valuable operating experience and may help determine how best to expand the new technology to other areas.”

The Camp Atterbury microgrid will provide grid benefits during normal operations. If a power outage occurs, the microgrid would serve local customer power demand.

The utility is requesting cost recovery of the military microgrid and separate Nabb battery through a renewable energy rider. Duke seeks to defer any costs associated with the projects until the commission rules on the cost recovery request and approval of a depreciation rate specific to the two projects.

“Camp Atterbury, the Indiana National Guard and Duke Energy have worked together on several mutually beneficial projects over the years,” said Col. John Silva, Camp Atterbury’s commanding officer. “This proposed project will increase our strategic value and give us the ability to continue our mission-critical operations in the unlikely event of a large grid outage.”

Navigant Research earlier this week issued a report estimating that the U.S. will spend $453.3 million this year on military microgrids, a figure expected to rise to $1.4 billion in 2026.

The microgrid would interconnect to Duke Energy Indiana’s 12.47 kV distribution substation located at the national guard base. Meanwhile, the Nabb Battery, to be located on land owned by the utility, would interconnect with a 34.5 kV distribution substation.

Work will not begin on the projects until the utility receives a ruling from the public service commission. Duke said it wants to keep the microgrid’s pricing confidential for proprietary reasons.

Microgrids beyond seed regions

Given its Indiana location, the microgrid demonstrates what industry insiders have described as a recent expansion of microgrids beyond the early seed regions – the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and California.

The Camp Atterbury project adds to the growing list of microgrids being developed by Duke, some through its utility operations and others through its competitive arm, Duke Energy Renewables, which has been developing projects in partnership with Schneider Electric in Maryland and Massachusetts.

Duke Energy also has deployed about 40 MW of energy storage capacity, representing 15 projects that demonstrate 10 different grid applications and functions and eight different battery chemistry types.

See the military microgrid channel on Microgrid Knowledge for similar news.

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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