How ARIES Helps the Military Build Resilient and Renewable Microgrids (Text Version)

This video explains how researchers are validating battery storage-based microgrids on the Advanced Research on Integrated Energy Systems (ARIES) platform so military and microgrid systems can provide resilient power to critical loads.

Screen shows footage of charts and graphs on screens, the NREL campus, and NREL researchers walking in buildings. The footage transitions to Brian Miller in the Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF) at a computer.

Brian Miller, senior NREL researcher: "The state of global energy is rapidly changing, and here at the National Renewable Energy Lab, we're trying to stay ahead of those innovations. We have ARIES—the Advanced Research and Integrated Energy Systems—to allow us to do any type of testing for a prototype energy system in any community in the country and in any environmental conditions."

Screen shows footage of Greg Martin walking near energy storage and the power electronics laboratory. Footage of computer screens with data, charts and graphs, and the high-performance computer at the ESIF.

Greg Martin, NREL engineering manager: "ARIES is offering huge, important, large-scale capabilities for energy systems integration from energy storage to power electronic systems to cyber security communications and data handling technologies … all integrated with these real-world physical assets.

"We strive to deliver knowledge and capabilities that are aligned with what potential partners and companies out there implementing advanced energy need."

Text on screen: NREL is using ARIES to validate microgrids and battery storage systems for the Department of Defense.

Footage of the Flatirons campus and researchers in the ESIF labs. Footage with screens showing testing and validation capabilities.

Brian Miller: "What the Department of Defense is looking to do is replace some of their legacy, uninterruptible power systems with large-scale energy storage batteries that can be used not just to serve the load but can be also used to serve the rest of the base for resiliency purposes.

"The Department of Defense is using this testing to validate their Phase One results, which were pure computer simulations and techno-economic studies. By coming to this lab for Phase Two, they can test actual hardware in the lab environment to make sure everything performs successfully before they take it to Phase Three, which is an actual installation at a military base."

More footage of researchers in ESIF labs.

Krystian Nowak, Ameresco project engineer: "The lab environment allows us to have the sandbox that's needed to really sort out a lot of the painstaking work that would oftentimes cause delays in a real-world project if it was postponed to field deployment."

Footage of researchers in ESIF labs and solar panel motion.

Brian Miller: "So, the extremes we're testing, in this case, are grid outages and load changes within the base, either due to power changes on their military systems or variable renewable energy. We want to make sure that all the systems can provide steady electrical power to that critical military need."

Footage of the exterior of the ESIF and NREL staff walking. More footage of researchers in the ESIF and security personnel monitoring their terminals.

"My hope for ARIES, as well as this Department of Defense project example, is that other companies can come and use our facilities and that those become products and services that are available to our country to really advance our situation in energy."

Greg Martin walks near the biomethanation reactor system outside of the ESIF. Footage of researchers in the ESIF at computer monitors, analyzing visualizations is showing.

Greg Martin: "ARIES is incubating new technologies … that applies to the whole globe—anywhere that energy efficiency, decarbonization, and modern intelligent energy systems are valued and needed … ARIES work will apply … so that we can make energy equitable and make it accessible … and kind of ubiquitous as a human right."

Video closes with several NREL staff members looking directly into the camera.