- The United States military uses more petroleum than any other entity in the world, but over the next 10 years it plans to ramp up its microgrid spending in an effort to reduce fossil fuel dependence, according to a new report from Navigant Research.
- According to the report, annual microgrid implementation spending is expected to reach $453 million this year, increasing to $1.4 billion in 2026.
- In the last five years, the U.S. has added more renwables and efficiency into the military fuel mix to improve its effectiveness. Over the summer, Go Electric won a $1.7 million contract from Perini Management Services to provide a 1 MW, 1 MWh battery storage system to a U.S. Army depot in Tooele, Utah.
Renewable energy on the front lines is not going to take hold any time soon, but Navigant's research looks at stationary bases, forward operating bases (FOBs) and tactical mobile systems as opportunities for the military to engage with microgrids. According to Navigant analysts, the Department of Defense plays a large role in expanding the use of new technologies.
“The DOD has played a remarkably consistent role in commercializing new technologies that provide tremendous social benefits within the larger civilian realm of society, including microgrids,” Peter Asmus, principal research analyst at Navigant Research, said in a statement. “Perhaps the biggest impact the DOD could have on future microgrid growth globally is in the developing world.”
Use of microgrids could help DOD reduce the $4 billion it spends on energy across its 523 installations and 280,000 buildings, the firm said. According to the report, shifting from a reliance on backup diesel generators to large-scale microgrids could save the agency between $8 billion and $20 billion over the next 20 years.
DOD began procuring renewables and implementing efficiency programs as early as 2003 under then-President George W. Bush. That commitment has come into question under the Trump administration, but continues to march forward.
For Go Electric, the Tooele award is its second major military contract. The storage-enabled microgrid is designed to provide the army depot with peak-shaving and black start capabilities as well as reactive and utility voltage and frequency support.