Fort Belvoir Energy Security Microgrid
Aura Lee Keating | Intelligent Power & Energy Research Corporation (IPERC)
The proposed Energy Security Microgrid at Fort Belvoir will address the critical issue of energy security on military installations. The increasing instability of utility power, due to aging infrastructure and the rise of cyber attacks, presents the need for innovative, mitigating solutions. This project advances the energy management standard of deploying programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and centralized Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA). These technologies are inherently simplistic, which limits capabilities and reveals gaping vulnerabilities. For this effort, the microgrid will be managed by the IPERC GridMaster™ controller, comprised of a distributed control architecture that moves beyond the traditional master-slave control approach. The Fort Belvoir microgrid will provide a technical design that can be implemented at a large number of military installations, and has significant maturity expectations for extensive deployment with utilities and municipalities around the United States. The objective is to utilize as many existing assets as possible to illustrate the rapid, low-cost, low intrusion ease with which a cyber-secure microgrid can be established at any location.
Through supporting several DoD projects in recent years, IPERC has developed the GridMaster, which is ideally suited to military installation and municipal microgrids. The GridMaster is a community of Intelligent Power Controllers (IPCs) deployed in a distributed nature, utilizing a combination of customized hardware and proprietary software to provide a level of control sophistication unmatched in the industry. This robust system provides automated, intelligent decision-making coupled with inherent resiliency measures, eliminating any single point of failure. This approach is far superior to the typically used PLC and SCADA-type systems, which prohibit rapid scalability and autonomous behavior, and exhibits greater vulnerability. The GridMaster removes many of the limitations currently seen in traditional industrial control systems.
Cybersecurity is a cornerstone of this project. Prior to installation & commissioning, a validation team will verify the cybersecurity of the microgrid control system and design. The effort will culminate with the demonstration of the installed microgrid at Fort Belvoir, including islanding the microgrid from the rest of the installation. In island mode, the microgrid will show several critical operational features, including black start capabilities; operating for 120 hours with a 1-MW load within the grid; automatically dispatching generators; curtailing generation depending on measured demand; and maintaining resiliency through contingencies.
The proposed solution will address many of the benefits associated with energy security at military installations. The benefits of deploying an installation microgrid include the reduction of both cost and productivity impacts during outages; by maintaining power to critical assets, as well as a dramatic increase in energy resiliency and surety. Compared to traditional backup power, the microgrid will provide safe, intelligent management of more loads with the same assets. Cybersecurity measures associated with the GridMaster microgrid are an additional benefit, not currently reflected in either utility power delivery systems nor in standard emergency power systems. In May 2015, IPERC’s GridMaster was granted an authorization to operate, PIT Risk Authorization (PRA), and is the first and only microgrid control solution within the DoD with this certification. IPERC will utilize this accreditation experience to collaborate with NVESD and Army Cybersecurity entities to perform certification activities and obtain a PRA for the system. This will demonstrate a cost-effective and reduced timeframe for future Army Platform IT Risk Management Framework (RMF) efforts, and will deliver a proven framework for proceeding with control systems integration and accreditation – a true discernible advantage of the IPERC microgrid control system.