New York’s two senators, the Army’s top installations official, and state and local representatives gathered last week at Fort Drum for a signing ceremony commemorating an agreement that will allow the post to obtain 100 percent of its energy requirements from an on-site biomass generation facility.
ReEnergy Black River LLC, a subsidiary of ReEnergy Holdings LLC, will operate the biomass facility, which has a 60-megawatt system capacity, more than double the installation’s peak load of 28 megawatts. The plant will provide electricity to the utility grid. The project is a joint effort between the Office of Energy Initiatives, Fort Drum, DLA Energy and ReEnergy, reported Army Public Affairs.
Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment, underscored the importance to the Army of striking new agreements for renewable energy sources. “There is an increasing, world-wide demand for these scarce energy resources, and the rising cost of oil, limited supply of resources, unstable weather conditions, and effects of climate change will only increase the difficulty of maintaining that critical access,” she said.
“We have done well, but it is only a start,” said Hammack. “The collaboration and support from the military, other federal agencies, private industry and utilities is imperative to solve the challenges that lay ahead — both technologically and fiscally.”
The final contract, a 20-year supply agreement, includes the provisioning, operation and maintenance of about four miles of new transmission line connecting Fort Drum’s north and south substations.
The Army remains committed to executing large-scale renewable energy projects and is currently working on over two dozen projects in 14 states to achieve its goal of obtaining one gigawatt of renewable energy by 2025.