Microgrid Knowledge – Transitioning Microgrid Technology to the US Department of Defense through the ESTCP Demonstration Program

Ben Lavoie, lead engineer — energy storage, federal solutions at Ameresco, shares findings from three-phase research on advanced energy storage systems and microgrid technology in partnership with the Environmental Security Technology Certification Program. 

The ESTCP is a program that funds carefully selected demonstration projects to validate emerging technologies that have potential to address a range of environmental issues faced by the Department of Defense (DoD).  It facilitates the deployment of energy and environmental innovations across the DoD by rigorously documenting each demonstration project’s performance and cost parameters and other useful insights in the development process. In doing so, the program enables DoD leadership and individual installations to gain visibility into the benefits afforded by environmental innovations and mitigates concerns relating to technical or programmatic risk that might discourage them from pursuing those innovations in long term contracts. Because transferring innovations at one site to another is more complex than simply replicating the same technology, the ESTCP program aims to provide other DoD sites with the tools and insights to achieve similar successes.

Potential demonstration projects are identified through an annual solicitation in which DoD agencies, non-DoD federal agencies, and non-governmental partners (including the private and academic sectors) are invited to propose projects. Specific topic areas are identified annually which target DoD strategic initiatives to evaluate how innovative technologies can support mission objectives. The ideal innovative technologies and strategies for the program are ones for which a proof-of-concept exists but limited performance data is available. Each year, about 30-40 projects are awarded, and as the projects’ findings are reported in subsequent years, other DoD sites can more readily leverage the same innovations in other settings. ESTCP and its sister program, the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP), are jointly managed on behalf of the Office of Assistant Secretary of Defense for Sustainment by a team based in Alexandria, VA.

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Microgrid Knowledge
By: Ben Lavoie, Lead Engineering, Energy Storage, Ameresco