NDW Driving Energy Security through Technology

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Story Number: NNS140220-02Release Date: 2/20/2014 8:12:00 AM

By Shawn Miller, Naval District Washington Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- In an effort to improve energy security across Naval District Washington (NDW), new initiatives are underway using technology as a driver for smarter energy usage while maintaining mission readiness.

One of those burgeoning initiatives is the Shore Operations Center (ShOC), where operators and analysts use SmartGrid capabilities and advanced meters to collect real-time power consumption data down to the building level.

With critical infrastructure connected to a central network, command and control becomes more efficient. With greater connectivity, however, comes greater risk to security.

"If we think of energy in terms of a comprehensive program, focusing on the five energy pillars - the energy culture, energy information, energy efficiency, renewable energy alternative fuels, and energy security - energy leadership is the foundation across all the pillars," said Lt. Cmdr. Keith Benson, NDW energy officer.

The prototype ShOC is set to be a centralized data hub to validate information and help installations across NDW lead their own energy programs in accordance with those five pillars, Benson added.

"We want to connect to be aware and effective, but we want to do it in a secure fashion," said Jody Davenport, ShOC manager.

While energy security may have multiple facets, Davenport said the key issue to the concept is keeping the mission functional.

ShOC operators at the Navy Yard closely monitor electricity and power usage on facilities connected to the SmartGrid, and can make changes over the cyber-secure network in the case of a weather incident, natural or man-made disaster, or simply a resource drawing the wrong amount of power. This control helps lower overall consumption and operating costs.

"To deploy energy security, we have to balance mission assurance and return on investment, and that is the challenge," said Davenport. "Energy security is becoming an island and independent, but we can't get there unless we reduce [energy]. Energy efficiency just helps you get to that islanding state sooner because your reliance decreases."

Even with all the technology systems in place, energy security, usage and mission readiness still have decidedly low-tech approaches that everyone can follow on an individual level.

"Everyone has the responsibility to do the right thing when it comes to energy management and energy security," said Benson. "Little things such as turning off lights at the end of the day or making sure plug loads are not in outlets helps to lower consumption."

Such small acts lead to greater awareness about energy, said Benson, not only in terms of security, but across the other four pillars as well.

"Everyone should be entitled to work at an installation where energy is a priority," Benson said. "If we all come to work with that mindset, then we start to develop an energy culture. And if we develop an energy culture, we start to share ideas and we start to talk about other initiatives that tie everything together."

For more news from Naval District Washington, visit www.navy.mil/local/ndw/.

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