(FORT CARSON, Colo.) — On Thursday, Nov. 3, a groundbreaking was held for a new energy-efficient battery system that will make Fort Carson self-sufficient during emergencies or power outages.
The ceremony marks the beginning of construction for a large redox flow battery, which has been dubbed GridStar® Flow by Lockheed Martin.
“What it does for our soldiers is it provides reliable energy, should anything happen off base. Then we’ve got the ability to continue our mission and provide energy for the war fighter and their families,” said Col. Sean Brown.
Col. Brown said the more self sustaining, the less vulnerable Fort Carson will be in natural disasters or attacks against infrastructure.
“So that if anything should happen off the installation to that grid, we’ll have our own grid and power inside the wire so that our, our forces can continue to train, live and deploy out of Fort Carson to do our nation’s business,” said Col. Brown.
The new battery system will provide clean energy and storage for long stretches so they won’t need to rely on anything off post.
“We are worried about the electric grid going down not for hours or days, but for weeks or months. We need to be able to do it for our warfighting mission, to be able to get our troops out the door to wherever they need, to be able to support the local community,” said Paul Farnan, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy, and Environment.
The battery also provides peak-shaving for soldiers, which puts less pressure on the local electrical grid when demand is highest.
“When electricity is really expensive in the hottest days of the summer, we’ll be able to discharge this battery to expend some of the energy that we’ve saved,” said Col. Brown.
Once built and operational, the system is expected to be able to provide long-duration, clean energy storage and mission critical power to a limited number of facilities for up to 10 hours.
“The flow batteries and new technology where there’s really unlimited the amount of times you can charge and recharge without degrading,” said Farnan.
Outside of emergencies, the battery will be able to power 400 Fort Carson homes on an average day, making the military post self-sustaining and more energy-efficient.
The project is slated to run and test the system for two years. If successful, the insights gained from this pilot may support the deployment of additional long-duration flow battery storage systems.
The battery will also offer a back-up resource during power outages for Colorado Springs and Fountain communities.