U.S. Defense Officials Discuss Resilience, Microgrids at the Google Defense Forum

Feb. 1, 2024
Two senior defense officials highlight how microgrids improve resiliency at military installations while also providing benefits to the surrounding community.

The U.S. Navy is addressing climate-driven issues with data and microgrids, according to Deborah Loomis, senior climate change adviser to the secretary of the Navy.

Loomis discussed the Navy’s efforts at the Google Defense Forum, which was held in Washington, D.C., earlier this week. During a panel discussion, Loomis said data generated by modeling and simulation exercises at the Navy’s four shipyards is being used to improve operations, energy and sustainability.

The exercises included evaluating the impact wildfires, droughts and other weather-related issues brought on by climate change are having on its bases.

Microgrids are key to the Navy’s resilience strategy

Loomis was joined on the panel by Rachel Ross, deputy chief sustainability officer and acting principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for energy, installations and environment. Ross pointed to the Navy’s deployment of microgrids at its bases as another example of its efforts to improve resiliency. 

Microgrids allow naval installations to “island” or disconnect from the grid during times of peak demand. The microgrids and their connected distributed energy sources, such as solar, battery energy storage systems or generators, continue to power critical base operations, while also alleviating strain on the local grid.

Loomis pointed to Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar in San Diego, California, as a prime example. 

“They do this routinely so that when South-Southern California is experiencing a brownout — or to avoid a brownout — we’ll come on to our microgrid so that the lights can stay on at about 3,000 homes in the community that otherwise might have been subjected to that brownout,” Loomis said in a story by DefenseScoop.

MCAS Miramar recently demonstrated that its microgrid can be islanded for up to 21 days and still power the entire base. 

Military microgrids on the rise

The U.S. Army is also integrating microgrids and testing new microgrid technology at its bases. In March, the U.S. Army Medical Test and Evaluation Activity (USAMTEAC) will conduct the second test of a microgrid system designed to power a field hospital. Additionally, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently integrated a new long-duration energy storage system into a microgrid to demonstrate how the technologies can improve energy resilience at contingency bases.

About the Author

Kathy Hitchens | Special Projects Editor

I work as a writer and special projects editor for Microgrid Knowledge. I have over 30 years of writing experience, working with a variety of companies in the renewable energy, electric vehicle and utility sector, as well as those in the entertainment, education, and financial industries. I have a BFA in Media Arts from the University of Arizona and a MBA from the University of Denver.

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