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The site testing team in front of the microgrid powerplant after successful black start tests at Marine Corps Air station Miramar, June 20, 2020.

Photo by Bert Blanchette

MCAS Miramar microgrid passes significant milestone in microgrid commissioning

1 Jul 2020 | Marine Corps Air Station Miramar

On Saturday, June 20, 2020, Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar conducted two successful black start tests of their microgrid, passing a significant milestone in the process of testing and commissioning the power plant and microgrid.

The tests were conducted from 10:00 a.m. through 4:00 p.m., beginning with the power provided from San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) being turned off requiring the microgrid to conduct a black start.
During this test, the installation facilities with backup generator power utilized their backups as needed to ensure critical facilities remained operational.

The microgrid was brought on line and the operators systematically restored the individual feeders to move the designated facilities from backup generator power to 100% power from the microgrid.
Additionally, the operators were able to successfully integrate landfill power into the microgrid, a feat not previously achieved, powering the entire installation.

Once the microgrid was completely powering the installation, the operators took advantage of the opportunity to stress the system by dropping landfill power and dropping the main diesel generator at the power plant. The system performed as designed and every critical load remained powered.

Once the initial test was complete and the air station was seamlessly returned to power from SDG&E. Then the system was tested again, this time in fully automated mode when microgrid power was restored to the critical loads automatically after a simulated power outage.

The Schneider Electric/Black & Veach Joint Venture project is a state-of-the-art energy system operated out of the air station’s Energy and Water Operation Center (EWOC) incorporating natural gas and diesel power generation, landfill gas power generation and solar photovoltaic power generation into a microgrid capable of powering every mission critical facility for an indefinite period of time making MCAS Miramar one of the most energy secure facilities in the Department of Defense.

"Our microgrid delivers capabilities that will make MCAS Miramar one of the most energy-forward defense installations in the nation,” said Col. Charles B. Dockery, commanding officer, MCAS Miramar. “Today's successful test of the grid highlighted our ability to operate and keep the air station running should our local power providers become unavailable."

The Utilities & Energy Management team at MCAS Miramar continue to take advantage of current and future technologies to ensure energy security giving the Marines of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing confidence the air station will be able to support their national defense mission during any natural or man-made power interruption.

Marine Corps Air Station Miramar