Burns & McDonnell designs microgrid for U.S. Military

Kansas City, Mo., June 22, 2012 — Burns & McDonnell won approval from Naval Facilities Engineering Command Hawaii to begin construction of the Smart Power Infrastructure Demonstration for Energy Reliability and Security (SPIDERS) Phase I project at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam (JBPHH).

Burns & McDonnell was awarded the SPIDERS Phase I design-build project on December 2, 2011. Since the contract award, Burns & McDonnell has completed the design, procurement of long-lead equipment, construction planning and development of the cyber security plan to obtain authority to operate the SPIDERS control network in accordance with the aggressive project schedule.

Burns & McDonnell has formed a project team that includes key partners Intelligent Power & Energy Research Corp., Parsons Infrastructure and Technology Group, and IPKeys.

SPIDERS Phase I is the first step in the Joint Capability Technology Demonstration by the Departments of Defense (DOD), Energy (DOE), and Homeland Security (DHS) to develop Energy Surety Microgrids. The JCTD focuses on increasing reliability in serving critical loads while simultaneously reducing fossil fuel consumption and carbon emissions.

Phase I will provide a circuit level microgrid to improve reliability of a single critical facility load. When implemented, a cyber-secure microgrid will optimize the use of existing generation assets — including renewable energy sources — and energy storage.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Construction Engineering Research Laboratory is the Technical Manager for all phases of the SPIDERS JCTD. The USACE Philadelphia District and Marine Design Center are the contracting agents and NAVFAC Hawaii is the construction agent for Phase I.

The Burns & McDonnell microgrid solution for JBPHH is built on the concept defined by Sandia National Laboratories. It incorporates additional functionality while solving real world electrical distribution challenges faced when energizing a medium voltage network. These challenges include controlling inrush currents to transformers connected to the microgrid and providing a ground reference for the medium voltage system where none existed.

During the microgrid design phase, the team faced several challenges including discovery of differing site conditions and changes in the Government-furnished energy storage system that will be integrated into the microgrid. Despite these challenges and the aggressive project schedule, Burns & McDonnell is on track to complete construction and system integration and perform technical demonstration activities before year's end -- on budget and ahead of the contracted schedule.

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