NREL Defense Partnerships Quarterly Newsletter

Welcome to the Summer 2021 NREL Defense Partnerships Quarterly Newsletter.

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Learn about recent NREL research, publications, projects, capabilities, and events related to the U.S. Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and NASA.


Special Feature

Behind-the-Meter to Front of the Line: Prioritizing Battery Storage Opportunities across a Portfolio of Sites

Prioritizing battery energy storage system (BESS) opportunities across a large real estate portfolio can be complex. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) used a phased approach to efficiently identify the most cost-effective projects across 80 U.S. Army installations.

Utility scale lithium ion Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) installation at Ft. Carson.
NREL researcher Kate Anderson meets with Col. Wortinger, the Fort Carson garrison commander, at the base's utility scale lithium ion Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) installation.

As economic considerations for distributed energy resources (DERs) become more complex, traditional metrics like levelized cost of electricity are no longer sufficient to evaluate project potential. This is particularly true for battery energy storage systems (BESS) which provide savings by shifting rather than reducing electricity usage. To evaluate the savings potential of BESS, detailed techno-economic assessments are typically conducted. Learn more about NREL's utilization of BESS across 80 U.S. Army installations.

Partnering With the Department of Defense

A Quonset hut situated next to a wind turbine

Quonset huts at NREL replicate military microgrid environments so that DOD and partners can reliably evaluate energy security with renewables and battery storage.

Behind-the-Meter to Front of the Line: Prioritizing Battery Storage Opportunities Across a Portfolio of Sites

With unique cyber and physical capabilities, NREL's microgrid research platform is the scene of large-scale grid demonstrations that are helping the military, microgrid, and energy storage industries transition past technical barriers toward extreme renewable integration. Read more about the benefits of batteries and microgrids used in defense.

OptGrid Illustration

NREL is advancing distributed grid and microgrid control and optimization solutions through research such as Autonomous Energy Systems and products like OptGrid.

Research Activity

NREL Study Explores the Security Benefits of 5G for Distributed Energy Operations

Modern city with smart 5G wireless communication network concept

New communications standards—with greater bandwidth, faster speeds, and more flexibility—are opening doors for grid devices and more autonomous operations. With this increase in connected devices that can support the grid, however, new targets for cyberattack could also emerge.

“5G’s technology can be used to mitigate certain types of attack in ways that couldn’t be done before, such as its intrinsic software-defined networking capability that can dynamically change the network at a moment’s notice,” said Daniel Bennett, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) senior research and operations adviser for energy security and resilience. Read the full news article on the security benefits of 5G.

Staff Highlight

From Satellite Launches to Expert Energy Analysis for Earthlings Q&A With Modeling and Analysis Lead Kate Anderson

Kate Anderson heads the development of NREL's REopt model, software used to evaluate cost-optimal selection and sizing of behind-the-meter energy assets for grid-connected and off-grid energy systems.

“After going through college on an Air Force Reserve Officers' Training Corps scholarship, I started my career in the Air Force launching satellites and was stationed in New Mexico at Kirtland Air Force Base's Space and Missile Systems Center.”

Women of the REopt energy optimization modeling team

Anderson strikes a pose with the women of the REopt energy optimization modeling team―one of the most gender-diverse modeling teams at NREL. Pictured from left to right: Kate Anderson, Sakshi Mishra, Kathleen Krah, Emma Elgqvist, and Xiang Li. Photo by Dennis Schroeder, NREL

“I have spent my career at NREL in the Integrated Applications Center, which considers technical, policy, social, and economic factors to inform partners' energy decisions and accelerate integrated energy solutions. Our partners' questions have evolved over time, from ‘where is renewable energy cost-effective,’ to ‘how can I achieve net zero,’ to ‘how can I make my site more resilient?’ Our modeling has adapted to those changing questions, but my focus has always been on using models to help our partners make those energy decisions, with the goal of increasing clean energy deployment.” Read the full Q&A with Kate Anderson.

Recommended Reading

Visits to NREL

We look forward to visits from our DOD partners in the future. For more up-to-date information related to NREL operations and visits, see the NREL coronavirus website.

Virtual Tours

Tours led by NREL staff are available at no charge and are typically held the second Friday of each month from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Mountain Time. If you are interested in a virtual tour of the NREL campus, please contact Jerry Davis.