Assistant Army Secretary: Military Advancing in its Work Deploying Microgrids at Bases

Oct. 9, 2023
In fact, Army Assistant Secretary Rachel Jacobson said that the Army microgrid initiative has been “enormously successful” thus far, in an interview with Defense Now. Nearly 30 microgrids are operational at installations, with nine under construction.

Last year, the U.S. Army released its climate strategy that called for a microgrid at every installation by 2035. This was a huge promise, but only part of the equation in the report. 

So far, it's one of the military's climate promises showing the most achievement. 

Microgrid Knowledge is covering several movements along this energy front, including the work at the Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos, California. The successes and challenges of the project were highlighted at the Microgrid 2023 Conference by panelists from the U.S. Army and developer Bright Canyon Energy, which recently sold the microgrid to Ameresco.

The Los Alamitos project is already operational in many of its parts which includes solar, battery storage and tier 4 diesel gen-sets as backup power. The California National Guard recently celebrated the work with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the base in August.

There’s much more where that came from, as the military bolsters it’s energy resiliency with microgrids and other distributed energy installations. In fact, Rachel Jacobson, assistant secretary of the Army for installations, energy and the environment, told military news site Defense Now that the Army microgrid initiative has been “enormously successful” thus far.

Nearly 30 microgrids are operational at installations. Another nine are under construction and 26 in the design phase, according to Jacobson and Defense Now.

Last year, Marine Corps. Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina contracted utility Duke Energy to build a $22 million microgrid there. The Marines also had a microgrid installed at Base Miramar near San Diego.

The other services have microgrids including work the Navy did with the National Energy Renewable Laboratory on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. Last year, the U.S. Department of Defense enlisted Xendee to help it strengthen its microgrid certification efforts.

About the Author

Rod Walton, Managing Editor | Managing Editor

For Microgrid Knowledge editorial inquiries, please contact Managing Editor Rod Walton at [email protected].

I’ve spent the last 15 years covering the energy industry as a newspaper and trade journalist. I was an energy writer and business editor at the Tulsa World before moving to business-to-business media at PennWell Publishing, which later became Clarion Events, where I covered the electric power industry. I joined Endeavor Business Media in November 2021 to help launch EnergyTech, one of the company’s newest media brands. I joined Microgrid Knowledge in July 2023. 

I earned my Bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma. My career stops include the Moore American, Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise, Wagoner Tribune and Tulsa World, all in Oklahoma . I have been married to Laura for the past 33-plus years and we have four children and one adorable granddaughter. We want the energy transition to make their lives better in the future. 

Microgrid Knowledge and EnergyTech are focused on the mission critical and large-scale energy users and their sustainability and resiliency goals. These include the commercial and industrial sectors, as well as the military, universities, data centers and microgrids. The C&I sectors together account for close to 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.

Many large-scale energy users such as Fortune 500 companies, and mission-critical users such as military bases, universities, healthcare facilities, public safety and data centers, shifting their energy priorities to reach net-zero carbon goals within the coming decades. These include plans for renewable energy power purchase agreements, but also on-site resiliency projects such as microgrids, combined heat and power, rooftop solar, energy storage, digitalization and building efficiency upgrades.

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