Empowering Energy Resilience: The Success Story of the CRSP Yard Microgrid Project in Kuwait

For the better part of the last decade, the U.S. Army has deliberately pursued energy resilience and infrastructure sustainability under the auspices of the U.S. Army Operational Energy (OE) Program. U.S. Army Central Command (USARCENT) bases in the Middle East have focused on ways to reduce energy, fuel, and water consumption while exploring opportunities to further innovate infrastructure resilience.

Since 2017, Sain Engineering Associates, Inc. (SEA) has been part of USARCENT’s resource efficiency initiatives. Based in Birmingham, AL, SEA specializes in sustainable engineering and energy strategies. As Idaho National Laboratory’s lead collaborator in supporting USARCENT’s Operational Energy Program pilot demonstration projects, SEA and its expeditionary Resource Efficiency Managers (eREMs) have gone above and beyond to help identify, develop, and implement resilience strategies for facilities in Kuwait. Most notable among our successes is the recently implemented Camp Arifjan CRSP Yard microgrid project.

The CRSP Yard microgrid has demonstrated remarkable success in its first year of operation, significantly reducing fuel usage and costs by 70%. Over the course of the year, there was a 5,045-gallon savings in diesel use, equating to more than a two-thirds cost reduction, from $25,100 to $7,500. Extrapolating this savings over a 20-year lifespan suggests potential savings of $352,200 in diesel costs alone. Combined with savings from GENSET lease reduction, $25,000 annually, cost avoidance projections are estimated to exceed $850,000 over a 20-year lifespan. Moreover, the microgrid’s integration of renewable energy sources with a generator has resulted in a dramatic decrease in diesel generator use from 100% to only 10%. While optimizing generator loading, this reduction extends the life of the generator and decreases maintenance costs. The optimization has not only reduced carbon emissions but also led to substantial savings, including lease-cost savings and decreased operation and maintenance expenses for the remaining GENSET. Overall, the CRSP Yard microgrid has proven to be cost-effective and environmentally friendly, ensuring a resilient power network for the future.

SEA’s eREMs were key to this effort, providing “boots on the ground” energy consultation and supporting INL in the development of the concept design and construction drawings. They subsequently worked with local DPW to identify and secure the site. Our team oversaw the installation done by the local BOS contractor and coordinated with the Host Nation utility provider as well. Currently, we are monitoring the results and assisting in training the BOS personnel on the O&M of the system. A small CONEX houses the scalable microgrid control system, inverters, batteries, and communications in a conditioned space. This on-grid/off-grid system integrates multiple types of solar photovoltaic panels, including fixed carport, flexible roof, and vertical Velcro-mounted applications, with a diesel generator and transformer. All electrical lines are buried below ground. With temperatures in this region ranging from a sweltering 105-115 degrees during the day to 91-102 degrees at night, 6 months out of the year, the system is designed to withstand the temperature extremes and dusty conditions with minimal to no disruptions.