From Muskets to Missiles to Wind Turbines

The Francis E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming is beginning construction this month on two 900 kW wind turbines to supplement the base’s power needs. The base, with a motto of “From Muskets to Missiles,” evolved from a major frontier infantry and cavalry post into the largest, most modern strategic missile facility in the United States.

The project is the first Air Force initiative of its kind in the continental United States and is a joint effort between the base and Headquarters Air Force Space Command (AFSPC). AFSPC is the only Air Force command to have wind farms on its bases. Ascension Island, in the south Atlantic, was the first AFSPC wind farm with four turbines erected in 1998 and an additional two units installed in 2003. The turbines will help Warren comply with an executive order to use renewable energy sources while helping the base meet its annual energy goals, according to Lt. Col. Joe Ballard, 90th Civil Engineer Squadron commander. “Wind turbines are a perfect green energy source for Warren,” said Ken Davis, Warren’s Wind Turbine Project Manager. “We have plenty of wind, an ample window of free space, and the economies of payback make them a cost-effective alternative to coal- or gas-generated electricity.” The wind farm, which is being built within the western perimeter of the base, can produce enough energy to power 522 homes annually, according to Mr. Davis. The turbines will provide roughly 10 percent of F.E. Warren’s main base electricity. The project is scheduled to be completed in late September or early October. Funding of just over $2.5 million came from the Department of Defense Energy Conservation Investment Program. The turbines will pay for themselves in approximately 12 years and have a 15- to 20-year lifespan. AMEC Earth and Environmental, an international project management and services company with offices in Lakewood, Colo., is the contractor. Warren energy officials plan to build two to three additional turbines on base as more funding becomes available. Information courtesy of


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