Large ports and maritime facilities make regular, intensive use of some of the largest, heaviest and most power-hungry machinery and equipment manufactured. Serving their energy needs is no small task, whether it be via conventional grid, distributed energy resources, or a mix of both. So it seems appropriate that one of the most ambitious projects in the US is being developed where the US Navy was born: the Philadelphia Navy Yard microgrid.
At present, the 1200-acre Navy Yard purchases around 98 percent of the electricity used from Constellation Energy. Exelon-owned PECO delivers it to the Navy Yard. This power and energy profile will take a dramatically different shape and form as the Navy Yard completes its microgrid project, a $4 billion master energy plan and 35-MW hybrid microgrid.
The Navy Yard is more than a shipyard, as significant as that is. It’s a national historic landmark and Philadelphia institution that’s being transformed into a magnet and hub for smart energy innovation, sustainable business and local community development. Managing the project is PIDC, Philadelphia’s economic development agency.
Microgrid Knowledge recently got back in touch with Jayant Kumar, lead project contractor at GE Alstom and director of all things smart grid, to obtain a project status report. Phase one of the ambitious project is essentially complete and project partners are keen to move forward, he told Microgrid Knowledge in an interview.
A wholesale grid transition
Transitioning from wholesale reliance on utility grid power, the Philadelphia Navy Yard expects to realize a cumulative total of over 61,000 MWh in energy savings over the course of the microgrid’s service life. By and large, the gains are projected to come by taking advantage of a mix of on-site distributed power and energy generation, energy storage and energy efficiency projects, programs and technology, all of which is expected to be complete in 2022.
Furthermore, the design plan focuses on building in capacity so that the Navy Yard and local area utility grid can flexibly adapt and meet rising energy consumption. Of particular note, the energy master plan aims to expand use of natural gas and local renewables in ways that enhance Navy Yard and community grid independence and energy security, as well as the reliability, efficiency, capacity and resilience of PECO’s local distribution grid.
PIDC’s planned 35-MW Navy Yard hybrid microgrid project lies at the core. Unsurprisingly, the project is extensive both in scope and scale. Whether connected to the grid or in island mode, the microgrid is expected to support the energy needs of:
In addition to the annual energy cost savings, the $4 billion project is expected to yield an annual $11 billion worth of local and state benefits, as well as $275 million in state and local tax revenue.
At full build-out the Navy Yard microgrid should support the electricity and energy needs of 30,000 employees, 1,500 residential units and 15-plus million square feet of occupied space. Marking a project milestone, Chicago-based Ameresco on August 8 announced it had begun construction of the hybrid microgrid’s centerpiece, a 6-MW natural gas-fired peaker plant. The peak-period generator is slated to come online in November, Kumar told Microgrid Knowledge late last week.Philadelphia Navy Yard power:
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