U.S. Army builds further resilience with flow battery pilot project at Fort Carson


In 2016 Fort Carson installed a 2 MW solar system financed through a power purchase agreement (PPA) with renewable energy credits sold to Xcel Energy to meet the solar requirement of the state renewable energy standard. The ground-mounted, thin film PV system covers nearly 15 acres on an old Fort Carson landfill.

The redox flow battery installation is a further step in building resilience for the base. Dubbed GridStar Flow by its Lockheed Martin designers, the new asset may help protect the installation during emergency situations, according to Col. Sean Brown, Fort Carson garrison commander,

“Fort Carson is excited to be the host site for this project,” Brown said. “We understand that by diversifying our power distribution, we are strengthening our installation. Whether the threat is a natural disaster or a bad actor, the more self-sustaining our equipment, facilities and processes are, the less vulnerable we are when facing catastrophic power outages in emergency situations.”

Once built and operational, the system is expected to provide long-duration, clean energy storage and mission critical power to a limited number of facilities for up to 10 hours. It should also provide peak-shaving, which means it will help reduce strain on the local electrical grid by providing power when demand is the highest. The project is planned to run for two years, and, if successful, the insights gained from this pilot may support the deployment of additional long-duration flow battery storage systems.

The installation at Fort Carson is one of the many renewable energy projects at Army bases throughout the U.S., with more to come. The U.S. Army recently released its Climate Strategy Implementation Plan to respond to threats from climate that affect resilience. The Implementation Plan outlines efforts to reduce future climate impacts and risks. Designed to complement the Army Climate Strategy, officials say the Climate Strategy Implementation Plan is another step in the Army’s decades-long effort to combat climate change.

The Army plans to install a microgrid on every installation by 2035. Its goal is to achieve on-site carbon free power generation for Army critical missions on all installations by 2040, provide 100% carbon-free electricity for Army installation’s needs by 2030, and to attain net-zero greenhouse gas emission from Army installations by 2045.

Fort Detrick in Maryland is another Army base with a sizable energy storage system that supports an 18.6 MW solar installation.



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