Sunday, January 29, 2012

Power Co.'s Place Hurdles in Military Going Off Grid

Energy companies halt USAF attempts to go off-grid
JANUARY 27, 2012 - has written many stories over the years about the US military’s early-adoption of off-grid energy strategies. But some army and USAF bases are stymied by the big energy companies when it comes to readying themselves for a big outage caused by anything from solar storms to terrorist attacks.

A recent report from Nevada by Greenwire focuses on a base that carries out some of the Air Force’s most advanced work, including testing and flying drones.The 140 acres of solar panels at Nellis Air Force Base’s 14.2 megawatt array are useless when commercial power is out, thanks to a provision in the agreement with the local utility that lets NV Energy turn off the array if the grid power goes down.

It seems mad, but “ contractual and technical obstacles mean Nellis’ array won’t produce a watt of power if the grid goes down any time soon. The deal reveals the hurdles facing the military as it tries to tap renewable energy in its search for energy security..

NV Energy claim the key issue is safety. The utility says it does not want the renewable power plant feeding energy to the grid if its engineers are fixing lines. But that is a ruse used widely by energy companies around the world. A simple switch could solve that problem, and for large scale projects like this, a trusted operator would be required to throw it. read more>>>

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