SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Southwest awarded a $42.7 million contract July 12, to purchase renewable energy that will supply Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar with up to half of its daily power during a 15-year period.
This initiative is one of many throughout the Navy and Marine Corps which will enable the Department of the Navy to achieve Secretary Ray Mabus' energy goals to improve our energy security and efficiency afloat and ashore, increase our energy independence, and help lead the nation toward a clean energy economy.
"This project, which is one of many the Department of the Navy is pursuing in the Southwest region of the country, is the first project in the entire Department of Defense to use special legislation established to allow the long term, 10 to 30 year, business arrangements necessary to accomplish these types of power purchase agreements," said Capt. Keith Hamilton, NAVFAC Southwest commanding officer.
The special legislation is Section 2922a of U.S. Code Title 10 "Contracts for energy or fuel for military installations" which Congress enacted in July 1982.
Miramar Energy LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fortistar Methane Group of White Plains, N.Y., will build a 3.2 megawatt power plant powered by methane gas at the city of San Diego Miramar landfill. The landfill is on leased land from the U.S. Navy and adjacent to MCAS Miramar. Minnesota Methane, a subsidiary of Fortistar Methane Group, currently manages a power plant that collects methane gas at the landfill to generate electricity for landfill operations. The plant's renewable energy is also sold to the city of San Diego.
NAVFAC Southwest, MCAS Miramar, city of San Diego, Fortistar Methane Group and its subsidiary Miramar Energy LLC participated in a groundbreaking ceremony after the award. Members of the official party included city of San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, MCAS Miramar Commanding Officer Col. Frank Richie, Fortistar President Mark Comora and Hamilton.
"This project is a very important early success on the path toward accomplishing Secretary of the Navy Mabus' energy strategy to improve our energy security, efficiency, and independence by obtaining or producing at least 50 percent of our total ashore energy requirement from clean, renewable or alternative sources by 2020," said Hamilton.
The project also has an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 component. RQ-Berg JV of Carslbad, Calif., was awarded a $5.4 million Recovery Act funded contract in February 2011, to construct an electrical distribution system to supply renewable energy from the landfill power plant site to MCAS Miramar.
"Our team has been carefully working that project in parallel with the power plant agreements to ensure that the power lines will be ready to receive and distribute the power when this new plant is ready to go in service," said Hamilton.
The project will also improve MCAS Miramar's strategic energy security and economics.
"The contract will include a provision for "Black Start", a technology that allows USMC to maintain electrical operations in the event of an electrical grid failure," said Rose Araracap, NAVFAC Southwest deputy assistant operations officer and technical expert for this renewable energy project. "This renewable energy will significantly reduce MCAS Miramar's reliance on fossil fuels. The price is pre-established for price predictability and budgetary planning."
Electricity generated from the landfill renewable power plant is scheduled for delivery by early 2012.
"I am extremely pleased that early next year I can flip on the switch and half of the power will be coming from San Diego's trash," said Richie.
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