The Parks Reserve Forces Training Area in Dublin broke ground last week on the first of 10 microgrid nodes designed to ensure electricity for critical Camp Parks facilities in case of a power outage.
Camp Parks is a battlefield simulation, military intelligence, and academic facility that supports military readiness for the Army Reserve and other U.S. forces.
The Resilient Replicable Modular Microgrid will divide the 2,700-acre facility into 10 electrical nodes or zones that can operate independently or in unison in case of a public power outage. The electricity, enough to power critical facilities for at least 14-days, will come from an on-site 2-megawatt solar array and battery storage systems.
Construction of the first node, as well as a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system, was funded by a $5 million grant from the California Energy Commission (CEC), developed through a partnership agreement with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Camp Parks, and the U.S. Army Reserve.
The Army Reserve has committed another $4.5 million in matching funds for the construction of additional nodes, with contracts expected to be awarded by the end of September.
The Army training facility has been planning infrastructure upgrades to support the independent grid system for more than a decade, with design support from Pacific Northwest National Labs, according to Jarrod Ross, Camp Parks resource efficiency manager.
“When you can disconnect from the grid and continue to execute your mission and/or operate facilities in the absence of utility power, that is the hallmark of resiliency,” Ross said. “If the electric utility conducts a public safety power shutoff to prevent wildfires, or any other disruption in utility power, this microgrid will prove its value.”