Military Microgrid Capacity to Experience More than 700% Growth by 2017

September 16, 2011

The United States Department of Defense (DOD) is the single largest consumer of petroleum in the world.  U.S. military operations are also the largest consumer of all forms of energy globally.  Microgrids, which enable distributed energy generation at a localized scale including the ability to “island” themselves from larger utility grids, can shrink the amount of fossil fuels consumed to create electricity by networking generators as a system to maximize efficiency.  Microgrids enable military bases – both stationary and tactical – to sustain operations no matter what is happening on the larger utility grid or in the theater of war. 

According to a new report from Pike Research, the capacity of military microgrids will grow at a rate of 739% between 2011 and 2017, increasing from 38 megawatts (MW) to 316 MW during that period, under a baseline forecast scenario.  The cleantech market intelligence firm expects that, under a more aggressive adoption scenario, stationary and mobile military microgrid capacity could reach as high as 817 MW during the same timeframe.

“The military’s primary concern is disruption of service from utility transmission and distribution lines,” says senior analyst Peter Asmus.  “The lack of control and ownership of these lines – and the uneven quality of power service regionally throughout the United States – has prompted the DOD to reexamine the existing electricity service delivery model.  This analysis has led the DOD to the inevitable conclusion that the best way to bolster its ability to secure power may well be through microgrid technology it can own and control.”

Asmus adds that, as awareness about the electrical grid’s vulnerability to terrorist attacks has increased in recent times, the U.S. military has become one of the strongest proponents of microgrids, which offer the ultimate secure power supply for fixed base mobile operations.  Many army, navy, air force, and other related bases and offices already have vintage microgrids in place.  What is new, says Asmus, is that these facilities are looking to envelop entire bases with microgrids and integrate distributed energy generation on-site.  These resources, when capable of safe islanding from the surrounding grid, offer the ultimate security since fuel never runs out with renewable energy resources such as solar or wind.  The opportunity to help develop these microgrids has attracted a number of powerful technology companies including Lockheed Martin, GE, Honeywell, Boeing, and Eaton.

Pike Research’s report, “Military Microgrids”, examines business and deployment models for stationary and mobile microgrids for military applications.  The report examines market drivers, implementation requirements, and technology issues for military microgrid installations, as well as providing detailed profiles of key industry players and case studies of military microgrid projects.  Detailed revenue and capacity forecasts for the market extend through 2017.  An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the firm’s website.

Pike Research is a market research and consulting firm that provides in-depth analysis of global clean technology markets.  The company’s research methodology combines supply-side industry analysis, end-user primary research and demand assessment, and deep examination of technology trends to provide a comprehensive view of the Smart Energy, Smart Grid, Smart Transportation, Smart Industry, and Smart Buildings sectors.  For more information, visit www.navigantresearch.com or call +1.303.997.7609.

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