The mission of the Microgrid Center of Expertise in Sustainability (CXS) is to support USACE in understanding and executing microgrids. The goal of this effort is to bring together various components of USACE and DOD with expertise in energy generation, distribution, and grid security to produce implementation doctrine that can be used by all USACE Districts and other Army and DoD activities.
The Microgrid CXS can also facilitate the conceptualization of microgrid site layout, identify critical loads and the equipment and conditions necessary for a microgrid. As the DoD strives towards “Net Zero,” microgrids can include smart controls to manage demand and reduced fuel usage as well as manage distributed renewable energy generation.
WHAT IS A MICROGRID? Multiple definitions exist:
- Department of Energy: "A microgrid is a group of interconnected loads and distributed energy resources within clearly defined electrical boundaries that act as a single controllable entity with the grid. A microgrid can connect and disconnect from the grid to enable it to operate in both grid‐connected and island‐mode."
- Department of Defense (DoD): "A DoD installation microgrid is an integrated energy system consisting of interconnected loads and energy resources which, as an integrated system, can island from the local utility grid and function as a stand‐alone system."
Essentially a microgrid provides energy security and independence from the utility grid when outages occur. Smart Grid systems can incorporate photovoltaics, fuel cells, batteries and natural gas generation as well as your back up generator. It can be coupled to larger electric grid (utility), but is capable of running entirely independently of it. It could be anything from a single building to an island or isolated village of substantial size. Renewable energy systems can operate as a generating resource within a microgrid during a power outage. Microgrids allow an installation or subset of an installation to operate as an isolated power grid when commercial power is unavailable. Microgrid systems are complex, dynamic power systems that require careful planning, design and controls strategy for successful implementation.