The military requires reliable power to ensure a successful mission. This demonstration seeks to evaluate if an Intellirupter PulseCloser Fault Interrupter, can be used as a smart switch to create a microgrid powered by a diesel generator, floating solar panels and a battery storage system. Intellirupter technology has many benefits that that make it more advantageous to the military than traditional reclosers. These include lower fault current on reclose events to extend equipment life, bi-directional power flow, increased segmentation of radial feeders to reduce the number of outages, better protection for hybrid (overhead and underground powerlines) systems, the minimization of voltage sag instances which can potentially damage sensitive electronic load equipment and reduced sparking which can lead to wildfires in training areas. Combining those advantages with the ability to use it as a smart switch for a microgrid creates an economical advantage over other systems.
Originally developed in the 1900s, reclosers have advanced to be controlled remotely allowing transient events like a tree limb brushing against a power line to quickly reset and restore power. However advanced, typical reclosers still use much more energy when testing for faults than the Intellirupter which uses as little as 5% of the full fault current energy. The Intellirupter PulseCloser Fault Interrupter was developed in 2006 by S&C Electric Company and was first installed in 2008. Since that time, utilities have realized the benefits of the Intellirupter. Within the Sandhills Region of North Carolina, cooperative electric companies and the Fayetteville Public Works Commission both have installed the product to reduce power outages and improve the System Average Interruption Duration Index for their areas. This project hopes to demonstrate that the Intellirupter can be used to create a microgrid. The cost of the Intellirupter microgrid will be compared to the cost of a traditional microgrid. Given the other advantages of the Intellirupter which have already been demonstrated in case studies, the successful execution of a microgrid make it a better value for the military. Technical performance will be evaluated on the equipment performing as a microgrid considering the economic costs, anticipated savings from reduced outages, maintenance costs and lost training dollars. A successful demonstration would mean the equipment performed as a microgrid with a return on investment less than or equal to the economic life of the system.
This project will include two (2) intellirupters and approximately 10,000 ft of communication fiber, transfer switches for the generator to allow power to flow back on the grid, a microgrid master controls equipment, a S&C Electric technical consult fee and miscellaneous equipment/labor. If this demonstration proves successful, the Department of Defense can benefit by having increased energy resiliency with a multitude of benefits for the same or lower cost than a traditional microgrid.