The Army remains on track to meet the president’s goal of producing one gigawatt of renewable energy on its installations by 2025, Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary for installations, energy and environment, told reporters last week.
“We made a commitment to the president we’d have one gigawatt of renewable energy on Army bases by 2025. And we are well on our way to it,” Hammack said, reported Army Public Affairs. “In fiscal year 2015 we broke ground on over 100 megawatts of renewable energy systems and we are on track to meet that commitment we made.”
The Army is leveraging private sector capital to build generating facilities on installation that can harness energy from the sun, wind, biomass and other resources.
“Fort Knox, Kentucky, put in multiple natural gas fire cogeneration systems that are supplying both electricity and hot water at the point of use,” Hammack said. “One is located near a hospital and another is located near the post exchange and commissary. So you have that distributed generation. That is a lesson from the private sector that we are adapting to,” she said.
Locating generating facilities on post is one way to improve resiliency. Fort Drum, for instance, is one the Army’s most resilient installations because it houses a biomass energy production facility that can produce 100 percent of the post’s energy needs from wood chips and shrub willow located nearby. The facility, converted from a coal plant, has three months of fuel situated within five minutes of the plant.
“That means that the base is going to have the power it needs, and actually that plant can supply three times the amount of power that the base needs,” she said. “So it can support the local community in the case of an ice storm, which they have seen, that has shut down power grids,” Hammack noted.
While not every installation in the Army has its own power generation capability, it’s a goal, Hammack said.