Military Energy Resilience Catalyst (MERC) Innovation Challenge
The objective of ESTCP is to identify and demonstrate promising innovative and cost-effective technologies and methods that address DoD’s high-priority environmental requirements. The true impact and savings of these demonstrations are realized only when the demonstrated technologies are widely adopted across DoD. ESTCP has constantly strived to ensure successful transition of technologies through various technology transfer approaches including collaborations with end-users and regulators. Many factors such as technology maturity, market readiness, user acceptance, complexity, and regulations impact the technology’s transition. In an effort to continue to strengthen the technology transition efforts, the Installation Energy and Water (EW) program issued a solicitation topic in FY18 on technology transfer, with the goal to identify innovative approaches to promote greater adoption of demonstrated technologies.
As part of this solicitation, ESTCP funded a project titled Military Energy Resilience Catalyst (MERC) led by Mr. Michael Wu of Converge Strategies, LLC. MERC is an accelerator program for energy resilience within the DoD, managed jointly by Converge Strategies, LLC and Idaho National Laboratory. The objectives of this project are to streamline DoD project development by identifying and disseminating scalable practices, provide direct facilitation and technical assistance to projects, create a peer-to-peer network to support ongoing innovation, and establish a permanent and user-friendly knowledge management system. MERC aims to build a community of practice for military energy resilience professionals from the installation, program office, and headquarters levels that will strengthen energy resilience efforts within DoD and overcome barriers to project development.
MERC’s P2P Network will support the practice of resilient energy development and accelerate the adoption of energy resilience practices at DoD installations. The P2P Network will achieve this goal by connecting and aligning DoD energy resilience practitioners on a peer-to-peer basis. The P2P Network functions across multiple communication media, identifying and providing solutions for both shared challenges and specific project needs while supporting the development of broadly applicable knowledge products. The P2P Network’s forum is a combination of in-person events, network-wide webinars, and direct peer-to-peer teleconferencing.
Direct Facilitation and Technical Assistance
Through MERC, facilitated resilience workshops are designed and conducted at specific intervention points to support Service Program Office (SPO) objectives and needs, though the responsibility to execute projects remains with the SPO. The workshops are multi-day efforts that provide time for joint analysis and problem solving. Ultimately, the SPO identifies one to two workshop opportunities and defines the scope of the workshops, as well as objectives, incorporation with the current project team, and project deliverables. The MERC facilitation team then integrates into the SPO, conducts a workshop at the installation with engagement from pre-identified stakeholders and the project team, and shares any lessons learned.
Knowledge Management Platform
MERC’s Knowledge Platform, currently in early development, will retain and serve as a secure medium to share institutional knowledge related to energy resilience projects across a range of critical stakeholders. The Knowledge Platform will house a listing of completed, ongoing, and planned projects that are searchable by key attributes to allow users to search for others working common issues. In addition to providing its own analysis of resilience projects to identify lessons learned and support continuous resilience improvement, the Platform will provide information on processes, templates, technical challenges, and best practices from across the services. Based on the demand from the P2P Network and its associated projects, new knowledge products also will be developed to address key and common barriers to resilience projects’ success.