Microgrids on Department of Defense Installations: Energy Policy's Impact on National Security
Haydon, Graham M.
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Energy policy serves as a key component to national security. How the United States protects its military’s access to dependable electricity is important to ensure that servicemembers are trained, equipment functions, and operations can occur around the world. Despite energy policy’s importance, the United States does a poor job of promoting sound, defensive energy policy. On American military installations around the world, facilities are dependent upon civilian power plants that are vulnerable to physical intrusion or cyber-attacks. These installations rely on outdated fossil fuel generators to provide backup power, which comes with their own weaknesses. Microgrids can serve as a key component of enhancing energy resiliency on military installations, thus improving our national security posture. They do this by providing a source of power and reducing dependence on external variables to increase the assured power to key facilities on an installation. The research in this capstone consisted of interviews with key stakeholders who have experience with providing power to their military installations. From these interviews, the key factors impacting the feasibility of microgrids to increase energy resiliency revealed themselves. Decision makers must consider the energy production, sustainability, and energy storage of their potential system, as well as their installation’s weather, purpose, size, and distance from utility provider. Understanding these factors provides decision makers a better understanding of the impact that a microgrid will have on their energy resiliency, and thus, are important to understand fully before determining the feasibility of a microgrid. Ultimately, microgrids may serve to have a large impact on energy resiliency on an installation, thereby increasing the United States’ national security. Future research is needed to quantify these factors and expand the research to more military installations to determine if other factors may affect the different military services and their missions.