Military interest in energy storage remains strong

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The US Army is interested in using energy storage to improve tactical capabilities on the battlefield. Pic: Trish Harris.

By Jason Deign

Military enthusiasm for energy storage applications is at an all-time high, according to one supplier close to the industry.

“There’s no doubt that their interest is strong,” said Ryan O’Keefe, senior vice president of business development at the power conversion systems maker Ideal Power.

Energy storage is seen as one of a number of technologies that can help military chiefs offset costs and risks while allowing troops to operate more independently in the battlefield, he said.

“They identified quite some time ago that their military bases, wherever they are, are at the mercy of the electric grid. The military is clearly in planning mode for how to make their operations resilient.”

Ideal Power is currently working with “a couple” of military suppliers on how to improve frontline logistics and power quality.
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Electric vehicles for military energy storage

Southwest Research Institute is a member of a team recently awarded a $7 million contract from the US Army Corps of Engineers to demonstrate the use of electric vehicles plus generators and solar arrays to supply emergency power. The program, called the Smart Power Infrastructure Demonstration for Energy Reliability and Security, is intended to make military installations more energy efficient and secure.

Will Pentagon invest in energy storage?

blog by A123 Systems has examined the Pentagon’s enormous cash commitment to 25% renewable energy sources by 2025. The article makes the point that by obtaining such a large fraction of its requirements from unpredictable wind and solar, the world’s number-one military machine will need energy storage solutions to maintain a reliable power supply.

Writing in the Ventura County Star, retired Major Gen. Paul D. Monroe, Jr. makes the interesting point that energy storage reduces the number of supply convoys needed in the battlefield, thus saving lives of US marines in combat. And with US$7 billion to spend, obtaining that energy storage capacity seems like a distinct possibility.