Press Release: As Threats to Electricity Grid Mount, the Military is Partnering with Local Communities to Deploy Solar, Wind, Batteries and Natural Gas


As Threats to Electricity Grid Mount, the Military is Partnering with Local Communities to Deploy Solar, Wind, Batteries and Natural Gas

New Report Explores Best Practices that Maximize Energy Resilience  

Washington D.C. -- In an era of increased cyber threats and more frequent extreme weather events, a new report from the Association of Defense Communities and Converge Strategies details case studies and recommendations for Department of Defense partnership models that deploy distributed energy resources, including wind, solar, batteries and natural gas, to enhance energy security at domestic bases and local communities alike.

Examples outlined in the report include a solar system at a Navy Seabee base in Mississippi, the Pentagon’s first wind-powered microgrid located at a National Guard base in Massachusetts used to analyze drone surveillance data, solar fuel cells powering a submarine base in Connecticut, and a microgrid at a California Marine Corps air station that can power the whole base for three weeks on a mix of distributed sources including solar, batteries, and landfill gas produced on base property.

As risks to the grid increase from cyber hacking, extreme weather and physical attacks, the Department of Defense has scaled up energy resilience projects to secure critical missions. These projects ensure military bases can keep the lights on during blackouts, make bases more attractive for new military missions, and even help prevent bases from being slated for closure. These projects also improve the strength of the overall grid by adding fuel diversity and can help states meet clean energy objectives.  

“The DoD is deploying these projects because of increasing threats to the U.S. electric grid, but there is also an enormous opportunity for clean energy to serve multiple benefits to multiple stakeholders,” said Wilson Rickerson, a principal at Converge Strategies and one of the lead authors of the report. “The partnership models highlighted in this report are powering military missions and can be scaled to benefit surrounding communities and economies. The benefits cut across state lines and political parties.”

The report includes four case studies:

  • The Naval Construction Battalion Center Gulfport in Mississippi allowed Southern Company to install a 4.29-megawatt solar PV system on 23 acres of land in exchange for the utility constructing battery storage capacity that can be “islanded” and powered by the PV system in case of a blackout. The project and others like it have been approved by utility regulators across the Southeast.

  • The Otis Air National Guard Base in Massachusetts developed a microgrid that can power the entire military base for 120 hours during outages using wind power, advanced battery technology and diesel generation. The microgrid was financed with close to $1 million in state resources through the Massachusetts Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force and is expected to be fully operational in the first quarter of 2019.

  • The Naval Submarine Base New London in Connecticut is partnering with the state and local government to install two new 3.7-megawatt natural gas fuel cells on land leased from the base. During power outages, the fuel cells and an accompanying microgrid will guarantee base operations can continue. The base was able to secure part of the funding in partnership with a local utility from a statewide microgrid grant program.

  • The Marine Corps Air Station Miramar outside of San Diego developed a microgrid that can power the entire military base for up to three weeks using landfill gas, solar energy, storage, diesel generation, and natural gas. The microgrid’s control system also allows the base to create additional cost savings by offsetting electricity purchases from the grid. The system was made possible through state and municipal partnerships, as well as state funding managed through the California Energy Commission.

“The Department of Defense has made energy resilience a priority and communities and states who can help achieve this goal will be in a stronger position to retain missions and attract new ones,” said Tim Ford, CEO of the Association for Defense Communities. “It can also improve the resiliency of communities, which is important when you have 70% of military families living off-base.”  

The report will be released on Friday, November 9 in Washington, D.C. at the DoD Defense Energy & Water Forum. The event is open to media, please contact Matt Boron ( to register.

About the Association of Defense Communities

ADC builds resilient communities that support America’s military. We are the connection point for leaders from communities, states, the military and industry on community-military issues. With nearly 300 communities, states, regions and affiliated industry organizations, ADC represents every major defense community/state in the nation.

About Converge Strategies, LLC

CSL is a consulting firm working at the intersection of resilience, advanced energy, and national security. CSL was founded in 2017 and has offices in Boston and Washington, D.C. CSL connects rapidly emerging technologies to the resilience objectives of the military, utilities, and state and local governments.


Press ReleaseMichael Wu