Navy Missile Test Base Ditching Diesel

Whether you’re a fan of the U.S. military or not, there’s no denying its role in driving cleantech innovation and deployment, from embracing solar power on the front lines to testing energy-efficient lighting systems closer to home. And here a fresh example of the trend: ZBB Energy said it won a $1.2 million contract to provide a 1,000 kilowatt-hour energy storage system intended to help the U.S. Navy reduce diesel use at a missile testing base off the California coast.

Wisconsin-based ZBB said the system it will supply to the Navy for use at the San Nicolas Island Naval Facility, off Ventura County, includes the company’s Power & Energy Control Center and “next generation Version 3 Zinc Bromide flow battery modules.” This is the same ZBB battery being used for a microgrid application at an Army base at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

energy-storage system for San Nicolas Island, U.S. Navy

image via U.S. Navy

At San Nicolas, the system “will be used continuously in an ongoing operational mode to minimize diesel gen set runtime in conjunction with wind turbines and future PV arrays on the island,” ZBB said.

According to the Navy, San Nicolas Island, in the Channel Islands chain, serves as “a launch platform for short and medium missile testing, and an observation facility for missile testing.”

San Nicolas Island, energy storage system

image via U.S. Navy

Over a two year period, the ZBB system will be monitored and tested, in the hope the Idaho National Laboratories ultimately will can certify the system’s ability “to maintain power quality and perform load management for off peak produced power of the wind turbines and diesel electric power plant power delivery system” on San Nicolas. ZBB said “certification will make available transition of this technology to more wide spread Navy use” – a goal all the branches of the U.S. military are pursuing.

Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.

1 Comment

  • Reply November 30, 2011


    Interesting introduction phrase in the first sentence of this article.

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