MONTEREY COUNTY, Calif. (KION) officials from Fort Hunter Liggett held a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday morning to begin construction of their new $ 21.6 million electrical microgrid.
A microgrid is an electrical distribution system that supplies electricity to specific areas of the base. Officials say this new project will be the first army facility capable of generating and distributing off-grid electricity across the canton for at least 14 days.
“If we have a public safety power cut (to keep power cables from igniting forest fires) it will confirm why this is a necessity from the start,” said Jarrod Ross, resource efficiency manager at Fort Hunter Liggett.
However, Ross adds that it's not just a 14-day system. Since it is renewable energy, you can store it for as long as you need it as long as none of the systems fails.
As for the existing microgrids at the equipment concentration site, solar panels will be added and the electricity stored in batteries. In this way, the electricity generated during the day can be used at night. They say that the electricity is supplied via power lines that were laid underground in the canton a few years ago in preparation for this new resilience project.
The military base will use an automated system called Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA). They say it can respond in 1 / 30th of a second to turn the microgrid power on or off when needed. Once operational, this system will generate more electricity than Fort Hunter Liggett can use over a 12 month period, according to Ross.
Fort Hunter Liggett officials say this resilience project is just the beginning of the multitude of projects they have in store for the base. With this project alone, however, the base will currently be able to achieve its goal of energy resilience for critical facilities by 2022.