A Renewable Energy Integration Tool
The Navy relies heavily on fossil fuels to power its operations. This dependence poses a threat to the Navy’s energy security – independence and endurance – in the case where commercial power is lost. The Navy has a mandate to reduce this reliance by increasing its consumption of renewable energy. However the variable nature of renewable energy creates a challenge to the Navy's needs for continuous operation and mission success. Interconnect agreement requirements restrict feeding excess energy back into the grid. We needed to provide a feasible solution to the problem "How much renewable energy can the Navy add to their existing grid without a loss in reliability or compromising mission success, and most importantly, without further engineering?" We researched academic journals, interviewed multiple experts in the field, and conducted in-depth field studies. We visited the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and different solar arrays and wind farms located at several naval installations. We concluded that due to the complexities of each individual grid – power quality, generators, size, age etc. – up to 15% of renewable energy can be integrated before needing to conduct an individualized grid analysis. With this knowledge we developed a tool that determines the specific amount of each renewable energy resource that can be added to any electrical grid depending on multiple factors – such as location, weather, and rate of consumption. We did all this without requiring further engineering. This tool is a first step towards maximizing the Navy's renewable energy integration and reducing their dependence on fossil fuels.