Energy Resiliency in Federal Agencies: Sustaining Power During Extreme Weather
Recent winter storms across the Midwest have caused icy conditions and consequential power outages. Most people think of flashlights, water and food storage in preparation for incoming storms and the potential for power outages, but it gets a lot more complex when it comes to federal buildings whose missions are vital to national and global security.
Whether we are talking about secure data centers, military bases or healthcare facilities, it’s clear we have become more dependent on energy, which ultimately drives our critical infrastructure. Geopolitical issues, physical and cyber terrorist threats and catastrophic weather events amplify our vulnerabilities and heighten the need for secure and reliable energy delivery. In fact, the occurrences and duration of major grid outages are on the rise in the United States.
This raises not only the question of how these individual bases and facilities are equipped to sustain outages, but also the question of what the government is doing to identify its critical infrastructure and ensure mission continuity.
Methods for Achieving Energy Resiliency
- Federal policies prioritizing the need for energy resiliency in federal buildings.
Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 in August 2018. The law defines energy and climate resiliency as “anticipation, preparation for, and adaptation to utility disruptions and changing environmental conditions and the ability to withstand, respond to and recover rapidly from utility disruptions while ensuring sustainment of mission-critical operations.” Federal agencies must explore viable options to identify and secure critical loads (e.g., back-up and emergency generation).
- Energy efficiency solutions.
Part of each installation’s planning process must include measures to optimize its facilities through energy efficiency. These energy efficiency measures would reduce an installation’s energy demand, with the added benefits of cost savings and infrastructure improvements yielded by these projects.
- Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPCs) and Utility Energy Service Contracts (UESCs).
These two contracts are prominent contracting mechanisms that facilitate implementation of energy savings projects that encompass not only energy efficiency, but also onsite generation and smart controls that bolster resiliency. Because these contracts can tap into private sector financing, the government agency can instead focus its appropriated funds on ensuring the lethality of the warfighter.
The electric grid is a mature and complex system that has evolved over time. We must adapt and leverage new technologies, processes and methods to ensure that the government is powered to secure our nation.
There is no question that consumers, including federal agencies, have more options when managing their energy supply and demand. The right supplier is needed to help a customer evaluate, implement and manage distributed energy resources to ensure long-term success. For more information on how Constellation can work with you to meet your goals and requirements, contact us today.
Guest Author: Johan Ulloa, Manager, Distributed Energy
As Manager of Distributed Energy at Constellation, Johan is responsible for building Constellation’s public sector and commercial energy project portfolio by delivering comprehensive energy savings, security and resiliency solutions to mission critical assets for installations, campuses, and municipalities. In this role, Johan is responsible for strategic planning, market research and driving sales and partnership opportunities across the public sector business line. Johan is an expert in commodity procurement strategies, energy efficiency, demand response, renewable technology, microgrids and distributed generation, and has coordinated the business development efforts for energy projects that incorporate various energy conservation measures and technologies.