MONTEREY COUNTY, Calif. (KION) Fort Hunter Liggett officials held a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday morning to begin the process of building their new $21.6 million electrical microgrid.
A microgrid is an electrical distribution system that will provide electricity throughout certain areas of the base. Officials say that this new project will make it the first Army installation capable of generating and distributing electricity off-grid for at least 14 days throughout the entire cantonment.
“If we have a public safety power shutoff (to prevent electrical wires sparking wildfires) that’s going to validate why this whole thing is necessary to begin with,” said Jarrod Ross, Resource Efficiency Manager for Fort Hunter Liggett.
However, Ross adds that it’s not just a 14-day system. Since it’s renewable energy, they can store it for as long as they need, as long as none of the systems fail.
As for the existing microgrids over at the Equipment Concentration Site, solar panels will be added and power will be stored in batteries. This way, the electricity generated during the day can be used at night. They say power will be delivered by voltage lines that were buried underground in the cantonment several years ago in preparation of this new resiliency project.
The military base will be using an automated system called Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA). They say it can respond in 1/30th of a second to switch microgrid power on or off when needed. Once that system is running, Ross says it will generate more electricity than Fort Hunter Liggett can consume over a 12-month period.
Fort Hunter Liggett officials say that this resiliency project is just the beginning of the multitude of projects they have in store for the base. However right now, with just this project alone, the base will be able to reach its goal of energy resiliency to critical facilities by 2022.