Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?



U.S. Military is Developing Smart Microgrids with Solar Power

Honeywell and General Electric are developing sustainable microgrid technology for the U.S. military.The U.S military is ramping up its commitment to solar energy and other alternative fuels with two new demonstration projects for smart microgrid technology.  These microgrids can draw energy interchangeably from solar arrays and other sources to cut costs, improve logistics, and reduce the troop safety risks involved in fossil fuel convoys.  As part of the military’s drive to lead the civilian sector to more secure and sustainable energy sources, the projects are designed to demonstrate the effectiveness of microgrids at large civilian facilities as well as military installations.  Corporate parks, industrial complexes and educational institutions would be prime candidates.


One of the sustainable microgrid projects  is being carried out now at the world’s largest Marine Corps base, Twentynine Palms Base in California, and the other will be conducted at the Wheeler Air Base in Hawaii beginning in September.  At Wheeler alone, the Army is hoping for a cut in fuel consumption of up to 60% and a reduction in the number of generators it needs.

The U.S. Military and Sustainable Power

The Department of Defense is pursuing sustainable energy all over the map, including microbial fuel cells, portable solar  power for the Marines and fighter jet biofuel for the Navy and Air Force among a growing number of solar arrays at military bases such as Pearl Harbor.  Increasing energy efficiency is another point of focus,  through such projects as non toxic anti-barnacle coatings for ships’ hulls, next-generation desalination processes, and  diesel-electric hybrid vehicles.  Microgrid technology fits in as a transitional step that enables sustainable energy to supplement conventional fossil fuels seamlessly, and as a way to manage an energy future that gives fossil fuels the boot almost entirely in favor of multiple renewable fuel sources.

Microgrids at U.S. Military Bases

At Wheeler, the microgrid developed by Honeywell Aerospace will be capable of distributing electricity from solar energy and other sources, and provide for portable energy that enables troops in battle zones and other remote locations to operate with far less resupply baggage than fossil fuels involve.  It is also designed to pull more efficiency out of existing “legacy generators” and ensure that power is delivered without interruption in emergencies. The focus is similar at Twentynine Palms, where a demonstration project from General Electric is under way.  At both, the microgrids are expected to cut the cost of energy supply by decreasing reliance on the outside electrical grid.

The U.S. Military and True Energy Security

In some civilian circles, energy security for the U.S. simply means drilling for more oil in American soil and coastal areas, and buying less foreign oil.  The military doesn’t see it that way.  The Department of Defense has established a far more insightful and comprehensive approach that calls for ending reliance on fossil fuels altogether, due to their high risks for environmental and public health, their potential to create global political instability related to climate change, their role as a flashpoint for military action regardless of climate change, their expense, and above all the impact of fossil fuels on troop safety and supply logistics in the field. Because the civilian sector has failed to act, the military has adopted an explicit policy of going beyond merely meeting the requirements of existing environmental regulations, and using every constitutional means within its disposal to lead the country to a safer, saner way to harvest energy.  It is beyond ironic that many of the same politicians and pundits who would otherwise profess to support our troops have instead blocked this goal at every opportunity.

Image: U.S. Army soldier by Spc. Nathaniel Muth on

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it! We just don't like paywalls, and so we've decided to ditch ours. Unfortunately, the media business is still a tough, cut-throat business with tiny margins. It's a never-ending Olympic challenge to stay above water or even perhaps — gasp — grow. So ...
If you like what we do and want to support us, please chip in a bit monthly via PayPal or Patreon to help our team do what we do! Thank you!
Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Written By

Tina specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.


You May Also Like

Clean Power

One of the lessons that countries are learning from the current war in Ukraine is that centralised power generation creates energy vulnerability, and therefore...


Woke or not, the US Army has invested $10 million in new silicon battery technology.


The US Army is testing a new flow battery that can suck up wind and solar energy like a high tech vacuum.

Green Economy

In another bad sign for fossil energy stakeholders, the apparel industry supply chain is focusing more attention on recycling pre-consumer and post-consumer petrochemicals.

Copyright © 2023 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.