Officials from the Army and other federal agencies this week celebrated the opening of a new combined heat and power plant at Aberdeen Proving Ground as an energy-efficient innovation that will save the northeastern Maryland installation $25 million over the long term and reduce harmful emissions.
The new plant, which won’t fully go on line until Sept. 1, replaces a waste-to-energy plant that produced steam by burning trash in an incinerator next to the proving ground’s Edgewood Area gate. The combined heat and power facility — also referred to as a cogeneration plant — produces steam from the waste heat that comes from a natural-gas-driven turbine used to generate electricity for the proving ground. The steam is then used to heat and cool buildings at Aberdeen.
Johnson Controls developed and will operate the plant, which is expected to save the Army about $4.4 million annually, reported the Baltimore Sun. During the ceremony, a Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. executive presented the proving ground with a $2.5 million check it earned under the utility’s Smart Energy Savers incentives program.
The new plant, located on the installation’s Edgewood area, will generate about 50 percent of the current Edgewood electricity load.
Maj. Gen. Bruce Crawford, commander of the Army Communications-Electronics Command and Aberdeen’s senior officer, said the combined heat and power plant will go a long way to bolster Army readiness, the service’s No. 1 priority.
“The other takeaway is what happens next. There are relationships at work here that did not exist. The real innovation is the long-term and enduring capabilities. I’m excited about the savings and the energy efficiency, but I’m more excited about the opportunities that now exist,” Crawford said.