Military Energy Resilience Catalyst
Michael Wu | Converge Strategies
Given the increasing occurrence, duration, and consequence of power disruptions, whether natural or manmade, the Department of Defense (DoD) is prioritizing strengthened energy security and resilience. There is an opportunity to accelerate and scale up resilient energy project development. Converge Strategies, LLC (CSL) and the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) will organize the Military Energy Resilience Catalyst (MERC), a technology transition accelerator supported by a DoD-wide knowledge platform, that will build a community of energy resilience practitioners. MERC’s objective is to streamline DoD project development by identifying and disseminating scalable practices, providing direct facilitation and technical assistance to projects, creating a peer-to-peer network to support ongoing innovation, and establishing a permanent and user-friendly knowledge management system. By strengthening energy resilience project development capabilities within DoD, the pace at which the military can cost-effectively strengthen vulnerable energy infrastructure can accelerate.
MERC would deploy a set of strategies to better establish, replicate, and scale the practice of resilient energy project development across DoD. These strategies include an online knowledge platform, facilitated in-person workshops, direct technical assistance, and sustained peer-to-peer exchange. MERC will establish a centralized repository of easily-searchable project information, derived from previously pursued energy resilience projects and a library of available microgrid planning and design tools. MERC will convene key stakeholders at installations for in-person facilitated workshops that are highly customized to maximize project progress. MERC would support project development through the deployment of specialized faculty members that can provide customized and on-call technical assistance to project teams - both during workshops and on an on-call basis. MERC would connect and align the broader DoD energy resilience community across the Services through annual in-person summits, regular virtual exchanges on topics of interest sourced from project teams, and the aforementioned online knowledge platform. The integration of these strategies as a focused effort in support of energy resilience represents an innovation over static information collection efforts or one-off project meetings with limited follow-up and/or insufficient expertise on hand. The performance of MERC will be judged by speed improvements in project development, increased connectivity between practitioners, and improved practitioner experience.
MERC will support the practice of resilient energy development and accelerate the energy resilience market for DoD installations. MERC will help deliver lower cost, more comprehensive energy resilience projects more quickly to protect critical missions from disruption. MERC will also reduce transaction costs and improve efficiency for new projects by providing access to data and information from previous projects, templates, and tools that leaders can use to better scope projects or define project objectives. By creating a community of faculty advisers and project teams, MERC will create vital connections between practitioners that will strengthen the overall field of energy resilience within DoD and help sustain and accelerate the gains achieved by MERC beyond the contract term.