From Aberdeen Proving Ground to energy proving ground: Unveiling a new era of resilience

By Jeffrey L. King, P.E.September 1, 2023

Chris Moxley, operational energy manager and William C. Wood, installation energy manager.
Chris Moxley, operational energy manager and William C. Wood, installation energy manager. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo ) VIEW ORIGINAL

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — In a remarkable display of expertise and innovation, three distinguished figures in the field of electrical and energy management have joined forces to orchestrate a groundbreaking energy resilience project at Aberdeen Proving Ground.

Mr. Chris Moxley, operational energy manager; Mr. William Wood, P.E., installation energy manager; and Mr. Randy Haas, P.E., chief facilities engineering branch, have collectively brought over 60 years of experience to bear in conceiving and executing a $25 million micro-grid initiative that promises to revolutionize power sustainability for the installation.

Aberdeen Proving Ground spans a staggering 19 million square feet of linear segmentation and stands as one of the most energy-intensive bases within the Army enterprise. The need for a robust and reliable energy infrastructure to maintain operations, especially during critical situations, prompted this visionary trio to devise an energy resilience project of an unprecedented scale.

The micro-grid project is one of the toughest and most critical in the electrical and energy industry and is set to secure power supply to the facilities for a minimum of 14 days. This monumental feat in energy management will enhance APG's operational readiness and contribute to its mission-critical functions, even in the face of unforeseen challenges.

(Photo Credit: U.S. Army graphic) VIEW ORIGINAL

Drawing on their collective experience and expertise, Moxley, Wood and Haas have skillfully leveraged cutting-edge technologies and strategies to ensure the success of this endeavor. By integrating advanced energy storage systems, efficient power distribution networks and real-time monitoring mechanisms, the micro-grid project promises to significantly reduce the installation's dependence on external power sources while bolstering its environmental sustainability credentials.

"The successful implementation of this micro-grid represents a watershed moment in the field of energy resilience," said Moxley. "Our collaboration has not only overcome technical challenges but has also paved the way for a more secure and sustainable future for Aberdeen Proving Ground."

Wood echoed Moxley's sentiment, emphasizing the strategic importance of energy independence. "In today's rapidly evolving energy landscape, the ability to ensure uninterrupted power supply is a strategic advantage that cannot be understated. This micro-grid project positions Aberdeen Proving Ground at the forefront of energy resilience and security."

Haas expressed his positive perspective on the enduring impacts of the project. He provided key technical insights, stating, "The project is estimated at $25 million. Onsite generation capacity is 9.2 megawatts, and it will back feed the existing newly installed 34 kilovolt electrical distribution system during extended utility outages. The microgrid controller will facilitate the opening and closing of switches to isolate and back feed critical loads."

Haas underscored the significance of the micro-grid's completion, emphasizing their unwavering commitment to ensuring optimal conditions for military personnel and critical operations. With the implementation of this state-of-the-art energy infrastructure, the base has significantly enhanced its ability to navigate potential challenges that may arise.

This project has been endorsed by the Operations and Maintenance Chief, Jeffrey King P.E., and the DPW Director, Joe Copeland, P.E. As the project nears completion in 2027, anticipation mounts for the unveiling of a state-of-the-art energy system that is set to redefine the boundaries of power sustainability and operational readiness.

Mission: Aberdeen Proving Ground is recognized as one of the world's most important research and development, testing and evaluation facilities for military weapons and equipment, and supports the finest teams of military and civilian scientists, research engineers, technicians, and administrators.