The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.
Untitled Document

U.S. Military Leads Green Charge

The U.S. military is not just setting standards in the areas of advanced weaponry. It's also leading the renewable energy charge. It's involved in solar, geothermal and wind projects and its stake in the field will continue to grow.

Consider the solar arena: If you thought the biggest solar array in the Americas was in the Southwestern United States, you'd be right. At 140 acres, the site's 70,000 panels produce peak energy of 14 megawatts, or enough energy to supply 14,000 homes.

But what may not be widely known is that the solar site is at the Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, providing about one-fourth of the base's power, with the capability of selling renewable credits back to NV Energy. The site, completed in late 2007, can produce about 30.1 million kilowatt hours per year.

The photovoltaic plant provides electricity that can be used on base, although excess power can be fed into the electric grid. The Nellis solar plant provides clean energy, and the base saves $1 million annually in utility bills. The project, financed by private investors, cost $100 million and took six months to complete.

Another renewable energy resource, geothermal power, has been a mainstay at the China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station in California for more than two decades. Since the 1980s, the 270-MW plant has provided enough power to supply the entire base. The Navy receives revenues from geothermal power facilities. And it recently awarded a contract to build a 30-plus MW geothermal plant at Fallon Naval Air Station in Nevada. The Department of Defense (DOD) is looking at other opportunities for similar public/private ventures to tap renewable energy resources.

These aren't just individual projects to take advantage of local resources, but an overall strategy to reduce energy use and revamp procurement. "The DOD is tailoring its installation energy strategy to address efficiency improvements to existing buildings, constructing highly efficient and sustainable new facilities, managing our energy costs through long-term power purchase agreements and contracts, and incorporating renewable energy and smart grid technologies to reduce installations' risk of power outages, improve on-site resilience to grid power interruptions and create a measurable increase in energy security," said Brian Lally, director, facilities energy, DOD.

"In some cases, large commercial-scale renewable power projects can be built that not only provide renewable power to a DOD installation, but also to the city or community that supports the installation through services and an organic workforce," he continues. "This means that there could be potential that should be explored for other uses."

Early Efforts

Increased renewable energy use and production by the military has been a priority since earlier this decade. One of the first efforts in the early 2000s was at Dyess Air Force Base in Texas, which became the first facility to be 100 percent renewable. Fairchild Air Force Base in Washington is also 100 percent renewable. The Air Force also operates a 2.4-MW wind farm on Ascension Island and a 1.3-MW wind farm at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming. Other wind farms are under consideration elsewhere.

Since the DOD is the single largest energy user in the United States, any marginal increases in efficiency or the use of renewable sources could have significant impacts on civilian supply. According to DOD reports, the military consumes 1.2 percent of the energy required in the United States. While the vast majority of its more than 832 trillion BTUs are consumed by aircraft, vehicles and ships, at least 12 percent of its needs are met by electricity at its more than 5,300 sites.

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 mandated an increased share of renewable energy over the next decade, therefore causing more urgency in the removal of fossil fuels from some of the military's uses. By 2013, the military must acquire 7.5 percent of its electricity from renewables.

In this era of environmental awareness, all sectors of American society will make greater attempts to go green. The Defense Department is no different and in fact, it will be taking a leadership role.

Bill Opalka is the Editor-in-Chief of the Topic Center newsletters, which are sent via email to subscribers across the globe. Before joining Energy Central, he was the founding editor of a leading wind energy trade publication. He has an extensive career in trade publications and newspapers, mostly focused on the utility sector, covering such issues as restructuring, renewable energy and consumer affairs.

Republished with permission from CyberTech, Inc. EnergyBiz Insider is published three days a week by Energy Central. For more information about Energy Central, or to subscribe to EnergyBiz Insider, other e-newsletters and EnergyBiz magazine, please go to http://www.energycentral.com/.

Untitled Document

RELATED ARTICLES

Solar power growth impacting UK electricity sector

Diarmaid Williams

Q2 of 2015 saw a large increase in the generation of electricity from solar PV in the UK, with the growth having a significant impact on electricity market prices and other supply factors.

PACE Finance Opening Doors for C&I Solar In California

Susan Kraemer, Correspondent With its excellent renewable policy, California leads the nation in solar. Over the years both the Renewable Portfolio Standard and the California Solar Initiative drove utility scale and residential solar deployment. But w...

US Clean Power Plan Could Include Carbon Trading

Mark Drajem, Bloomberg Some businesses that back President Barack Obama’s plan to curb greenhouse gases are making a late lobbying push to add an element similar to a cap-and-trade program. With the administration set this week or next to unveil ...

Why the Future of the Yieldco Is at Risk

Haresh Patel In the past two years, the proliferation of YieldCos, and their ability to open new sources of capital for renewable energy projects, has captured the attention of the energy industry. While a YieldCo’s potential to catalyz...

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

Volume 18, Issue 4
1507REW_C11

STAY CONNECTED

To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @megcichon @jennrunyon

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

Grid-connected and Off-grid Photovoltaics

This training covers all aspects of planning, installation, maintenance,...

GRC Workshop at Indonesian International Geothermal Convention & Ex...

The Geothermal Conceptual Model & Well Targeting The Geothermal Me...

2015 Intersolar-South America

Canadian Solar will be exhibiting @ Intersolar-South America. Stop by an...

COMPANY BLOGS

LSX rises with sustainable wine making in Mexico

his custom LSX solar canopy shades the upper deck organic gard...

Do Your Goals Match Your Values?

Before you set goals for your company or your personal work performance ...

A Networking Story

When you’re at a networking event and you meet someone who works i...

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS