Microgrids Boost Energy Reliability and Efficiency for the Marine Corps

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November 21, 2016 | Originally published by Date Line: November 21 on

Military microgrids can save the Marine Corps hundreds of man hours, reduce fuel use, and lower costs through automatic load sharing. U.S. Marine Private Robert Bliss explains.

The high-tech gear the Marine Corps uses continues to evolve each year. Power generators allow the Marine Corps to operate its gear no matter the environment. Recently, the Marine Corps began utilizing a microgrid to supplement the performance of their power generators.

A microgrid is an energy system consisting of distributed energy sources and loads capable of operating in conjunction with, or independently from a main power grid. With microgrids, energy storage is able to perform multiple functions, such as ensuring power quality, including frequency and voltage regulation. It also smoothes the output of renewable energy sources, which provides backup power for the system, all while lowering costs.

Marines implemented microgrids to test their capabilities in a field environment during I Marine Expeditionary Forces Large Scale Exercise 2016. I MEF LSE-16 is designed to enhance the command and control and interoperability between I MEF command element staff and its higher, adjacent and subordinate command headquarters. LSE simulates the planning, deployment and combat operations of a MEF-level force of more than 50,000 military members within a partner country while operating alongside coalition forces.

“The microgrids reduce our logistical footprint,” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Matias Kennedy, project officer, Intelligent Power Management Systems, Marine Corps Forces Systems Command. “Now, instead of every unit going to the field and bringing their own generator, units are able to split the load between shared generators. This increases the reliability and stability of power support to critical infrastructures.”