July 17, 2006

Sandia looking to create secure energy grids

Sandia is looking to prove secure energy microgrids next year at a military base. Energy systems with high levels of energy surety must be safe -- safely supplying energy to end users; secure -- using diversified energy sources; reliable -- maintaining power when and where needed; sustainable -- being able to be maintained indefinitely ("indefinite" is based on the American Indian definition of seven generations or 200 years); and cost-effective -- producing energy at an acceptable (and preferably lowest) cost.

The Sandia team believes the solution is what they are researching for Army bases across the country -- a microgrid that reduces the single points of failure by cutting down the number of transmission lines.

In looking at the five criteria of an energy surety approach, the microgrid meets all. It is safe -- it's not introducing any new dangers. It's secure because it uses a diverse mix of fuels -- solar, wind, and oil. It's reliable because it uses a variety of types of generators. There is a redundancy of generation and storage. It's sustainable because it is using renewable energies. And, it is cost-effective because it uses energy sources that are readily available and appropriate for the site. (An example is that solar could be used in the Southwest and wind along the nation's coastlines.)