Ameresco Partners with MCRD to Build Energy-Efficient Microgrid System

PARRIS ISLAND, S.C.— Ameresco, a leading energy efficiency and energy infrastructure company based in Framingham, Mass. announced on Jan. 12 plans to build a statewide microgrid. The microgrid will integrate 10 megawatts (MW) of new on-site power generation as well as a battery energy storage system at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) in Parris Island.

Ameresco is an independent provider of energy solutions designed to improve facilities throughout North America.
Photo Credit: Ameresco

Through the Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC) valued at $91.1 million, Ameresco will work as the engineer while providing energy infrastructure upgrades to the approximate 350 million-square-foot military facility. All buildings and facilities will remain operational during construction as the project is scheduled to break ground spring 2017.

Ameresco’s announcement works alongside Power Begins at Home, a report released by the Pew Charitable Trusts on Jan. 12 that targets steps the Department of Defense could take to address challenges associated with energy and threats to national security. The report emphasizes how microgrids and energy independence can lower energy consumption costs at military institutions while reducing their overall carbon footprint.

“This project will provide MCRD a reliable source of heat and power combined with advanced controls and energy storage technology to allow the site to operate in island-mode during a loss of utility connection ensuring operation of mission-critical systems,” said Nicole A. Bulgarino, the senior vice president and general manager of Ameresco in a statement. “Overall, the project will revitalize Parris Island’s existing energy infrastructure.”

The contract will cover energy performance upgrades to 121 buildings located at the MCRD. These upgrades will assess how the MCRD is using their energy and water systems as well as ways to improve them. The overall goal of these upgrades is to install new on-site energy systems that will offset electricity purchases from the grid and will provide energy security and resiliency, according to a statement from Ameresco.

The ESPC will also require Ameresco to replace a steam plant with a new Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant that’s fully automated and fueled by natural gas. Once the installation is complete, the CHP can produce up to 3.5-MW of electricity, which meets the required steam load used for all of the MCRD’s operations.

Besides the CHP, the microgrid system will also include a 6.7 MW-direct current (DC) of solar photovoltaic generation assets integrated with an 8.0 MWh battery energy storage system and a microgrid control system capable of optimized dispatch and fast load shedding, according to a statement from Ameresco.

By using the microgrid system, the MCRD can control, monitor and coordinate exactly how much energy is being used as well as which utilities are using it. If a utility disturbance is sensed, the microgrid will disconnect to avoid an unequal disbursement of energy.
Besides installing a microgrid system that will manage, distribute and improve energy performance at Paris Island, the ESPC expects to lower utility costs and improve energy efficiency for the MCRD and all its building systems. The project is scheduled for completion spring 2019.

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