ZBB Energy to manage smart microgrid at Pearl Harbor

Milwaukee, April 2, 2012 — ZBB Energy Corp. won a contract to provide a ZBB EnerSystem integrated power management system for a microgrid installation at the Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam U.S. Military base in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Manufactured at the company's Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin facility, the ZBB EnerSystem will include a ZBB EnerSection power and energy control center combined with a ZBB EnerStore next generation proprietary flow battery system.

The ZBB EnerSystem will intelligently manage inputs of various energy sources on the base that include an existing photovoltaic solar power system and new wind turbine system.

The deployment is part of the first phase of a three-phase, $30 million multi-government agency project known as Smart Power Infrastructure Demonstration for Energy Reliability and Security or SPIDERS.

SPIDERS is based on a Joint Command Technology Development project between Department of Energy, Department of Defense, and Department of Homeland Security.

In addition to these top level agencies, program participants are diverse and wide ranging, from all branches of the military, including the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers and Naval Facilities Engineering Command, to five DoE national labs (Sandia National Laboratories, Pacific Northwest National Laboratories, Oak Ridge National Laboratories, National Renewable Energy Laboratories), the states of Colorado and Hawaii, and local utilities.

The mission of SPIDERS is to reduce the risks associated with unreliable power by establishing the standards and technology for smarter, more secure and robust microgrids that incorporate renewable energy sources while decreasing vulnerability to cyber-attacks.

For example, currently when power is disrupted at a typical military base, individual buildings switch to backup diesel generators, but this has several critical limitations. These systems might fail or run short on fuel, and when they do, there is no way to transfer power from another building's generator.

Most generators are oversized for the load and excess fuel is consumed, creating cost and air quality issues. While renewable energy sources could provide backup or supplemental power, because of limited technology, current safety rules require these sources to disconnect when grid power is lost, thereby limiting their practicality.

Developed by Sandia National Laboratories and others, the SPIDERS architecture establishes a smart, cyber-secure microgrid on the base that overcomes these limitations. The microgrid interfaces with the ZBB EnerSection to provide cyber security, reliability, quality control and load leveling during normal mode when interacting with the commercial grid or when isolated (or "islanded").

In either mode, the ZBB EnerSection allows and intelligently optimizes the use of renewables, reducing dependence on diesel-generated power. The system is expected to dramatically increase power reliability, reduce energy costs and shrink the military's carbon "bootprint."

The three phases of the SPIDERS JCTD project includes three increasingly more extensive microgrid installations that follow a "crawl, walk, run" approach. According to Sandia National Laboratories, this strategy lends itself to streamlining the processes for further government agency and civilian microgrid adoption. The DoD successfully followed a similar approach with the development and government-to-private sector roll-out of other formerly advanced yet untried technologies, including GPS and the Internet.

The three SPIDER installations include:

1. Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam (aka Hickam Air Force Base) in Hawaii: circuit-level microgrid (the crawl stage)

2. Fort Carson in Colorado: a larger microgrid that incorporates a large photovoltaic system and vehicle-to-grid storage (the walk stage)

3. Camp Smith Energy Island in Hawaii: entire base incorporated into the microgrid, with more extensive renewable energy and storage implemented (the run stage)

The baseline power of the three initial SPIDERS microgrids is expected to range from 1.5 to 10 MW, depending on the site. After the final installation, the program calls for further DoD implementations as well as dissemination to other federal agencies and the commercial sector.

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