AECOM, Lockheed Martin Together Build Energy Storage System at Fort Carson

Posted by: Kelly Speakes-Backman, CEO, Energy Storage Association

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Spotlight on Storage features commentary on new and innovative developments in the U.S. energy storage industry from ESA staff, members, and supporters.

 

In August, AECOM announced it started construction of a Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) at Fort Carson Army base in Colorado using Lockheed Martin’s GridStar® Lithium energy storage system. The 4.25 MW/8.5 MWh BESS is part of an energy savings performance contract (ESPC) to reduce Fort Carson’s energy costs and increase its energy resilience. Though there are some existing energy storage systems at military bases, this unit will be the largest stand-alone commercially contracted battery at an army base. The large, revenue-generating storage system operates behind Fort Carson’s electric utility meter. It reduces electrical demand during peak intervals, thereby increasing power grid resilience.

Implementation of this first-of-its-kind project will combine AECOM’s development, integration and construction expertise with Lockheed Martin’s modular, resilient GridStar® energy storage units. The BESS is intended to substantially reduce demand charges that Fort Carson pays to its electric provider.

I connected with representatives from AECOM and Lockheed Martin to discuss this project to learn how this partnership was formed, the benefits of installing energy storage systems on military bases and implementing renewables for energy efficiency and cost savings.

Kelly Speakes-Backman, ESA CEO: How did the partnership between AECOM and Lockheed Martin come together?

Rob Rouse, AECOM Business Development Manager: “AECOM conducted a competitive selection of a battery integrator. We were impressed by Lockheed Martin’s GridStar® Lithium product architecture, customer focus, corporate reputation and proven experience, including their work on GridStar Energy Storage Systems and the Department of Defense’s Cyber Crime Center. This project is significant, as it is the first-of-its-kind and has very high visibility among Army leaders. All of these factors contributed to us presenting the government with a solution that has minimal risk. This was the key to our partnership with Lockheed Martin.”

Richard Brody, Lockheed Martin Director of Sales and Marketing: “GridStar Lithium is a pre-manufactured and assembled system that is easily deployable to locations such as Fort Carson. It is modular and scalable, designed to serve 100 kW to multi-MW commercial, industrial and utility applications. Lockheed Martin is proud to partner with AECOM to implement this state-of-the-art solution to enhance resiliency at Fort Carson.”  

Speakes-Backman: How is the Fort Carson project different from other energy storage projects?

Rouse and Brody: The Fort Carson project is unique, as it is the first peak-shaving battery at a U.S. military installation. This is being delivered as part of an alternatively-financed project and through an energy saving performance contract (ESPC), which allows federal agencies to procure energy savings with no up-front capital investment. ESPC delivery can be utilized for the installation of this battery storage to reduce electric demand charges.

Speakes-Backman: What is unique about installing an energy storage system on a military base?

Rouse: Robust cybersecurity is critical to military bases. It must be accommodated consequent to our need to monitor battery system operations in real-time so that issues can rapidly be identified and responded to, thus ensuring quality performance. To ensure cybersecurity requirements are met at installations like this BESS at Fort Carson, significant research, planning and engineering efforts took place at the beginning of the project.

Brody: Other factors that influence the development of energy storage systems at a military base include existing facility conditions, operational constraints and utility use profiles. Only after acquiring a high degree of confidence in our understanding of these factors were we able to propose an energy storage system that would meet the Army’s expectations for constructability, performance and best value.

Speakes-Backman: How will you measure the success of the project? In particular, what can the customer hope to gain during the life of the project? Is there any impact to the grid at large?

Rouse and Brody: Financial performance is the most crucial measure of our success. This peak-shaving battery is an investment that will produce long-term energy savings for Fort Carson and we’ve guaranteed cost savings for the life of the project. The system will also reduce stress on Colorado Springs Utilities’ surrounding electric grid by reducing Fort Carson’s demand.

Speakes-Backman: What motivated Fort Carson to be interested in installing an energy storage system?

Rouse and Brody: Fort Carson has shown a penchant for energy innovations. They have a reputation as one of the most skilled military bases in the Army for managing energy and have repeatedly taken technical risks in pursuit of advancing the sophistication of their energy systems. They are smart buyers with an excellent understanding of their technical constraints, which prompted them to pursue a peak-shaving battery. Their motivation was not only to keep advancing their program, but also to save money on their considerable electricity bill. Fort Carson has undertaken a lot of energy conservation initiatives, but those only reduce commodity charges. Over half of their bill is in demand charges and they desire a more efficient way to attack those. The battery is a great way of achieving this goal.

Speakes-Backman: Is there anything else you want the industry or other stakeholders to know about the project or energy storage systems in general?

Rouse: Energy storage is one way to solve energy resilience challenges. Storage will only continue to grow more technologically advanced and financially viable. Energy storage technology improvements include better systems integration, storage cells that are more efficient and cost effective, and smarter control systems.

Brody: These battery systems are future-proofing themselves by becoming more flexible and responsive – as requirements change and opportunities arise, the systems can adapt. We want other facilities to recognize that, like Fort Carson, they can procure energy storage systems and can experience increased savings and resiliency.