Military Microgrid Begins Operating in Arizona; Also Benefits Civilians

Dec. 17, 2016
A 25-MW military microgrid began operating this week at an air station in Yuma, Arizona, offering an example of how microgrids can ensure electric reliability for military operations, while easing civilian energy costs.

A 25-MW military microgrid began operating this week at an air station in Yuma, Arizona, offering an example of how a single microgrid can benefit both military operations and civilians.

Arizona Public Service (APS), the Department of the Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps on Thursday announced the completion of the microgrid at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Yuma.

Should the grid go down, the military microgrid will provide enough back-up power to cover all of the energy requirements of the base. The microgrid will export to the grid any excess power it produces.

The MCAS Yuma microgrid is one of several efforts by the military to create independent power supply as a security measure.

“This project will make MCAS Yuma 100 percent resilient to external grid failures, and is an example of an effort that will ensure our bases remain at the forefront of the defense of the country,” said Maj. Gen. John J. Broadmeadow, commander of Marine Corps Installations Command.

A military microgrid that helps utility customers

APS built, owns, operates and will maintain the microgrid at MCAS Yuma. In exchange for the use of Navy land, the utility will provide in-kind consideration in the form of back-up power during grid outages. This will ensure the base experiences no interruption to its mission.

“Back-up power is only one of a microgrid’s great benefits. They also are integral tools for providing our customers with reliable power when energy demand is at its highest. On a hot summer afternoon when Yuma customers are using the most power, we can draw energy from this microgrid,” said Mark Schiavoni, APS executive vice president and chief operating officer. “This helps avoid the expense of building additional infrastructure to meet the peak needs of customers in summer and provides reliable energy when we need it most.”

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APS is seeking cost recovery of the military microgrid through an ongoing rate case before the Arizona Corporation Commission (E-01345A-16-0036). The utility cites benefits the microgrid offers its civilian customers, including peaking capacity and frequency response reserves. The microgrid offers these services at a cost-savings compared with other market options, according to the rate filing. The commission is expected to issue a decision June 26, 2017.

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Elisa Wood | Editor-in-Chief

Elisa Wood is the editor and founder of She is co-founder and former editor of Microgrid Knowledge.