WASHINGTON (NNS) -- On Oct. 14, the Department of the Navy (DON), Department of Energy (DOE), Sempra U.S. Gas & Power (Sempra), and the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) celebrated the dedication of Mesquite Solar 3, a solar facility providing one-third of the power needed for 14 Navy and Marine Corps installations in California.
The agreement represents the largest purchase of renewable energy ever made by a federal entity.
The 210-megawatt (MW) direct current (DC) solar facility project is coming online in four stages. The first power block began generating electricity in August, with the remaining three blocks scheduled for completion by year-end 2016, which is when the facility will be fully operational.
The dedication ceremony featured remarks from Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations & Environment, Dennis V. McGinn; Executive Director of the Department of Energy Loan Programs Office Mark McCall; Administrator and Chief Executive Officer of WAPA, Mark Gabriel; and Senior Vice President and President, Renewables, of Sempra U.S. Gas & Power, Kevin Sagara.
"This ceremony marks the completion of one of the first and most monumental, renewable energy projects undertaken by the Navy," said McGinn. "The 14 Navy and Marine Corps installations that will be receiving the power produced by Mesquite Solar 3 will be getting more than just clean, renewable power. They will be getting increased energy resiliency and security, which is crucial to maintaining our mission readiness."
The DOE Loan Programs Office was key to the success of the adjoining Mesquite Solar 1 facility. Although unable to attend today's ceremony, Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz relayed his enthusiasm and support in a message for the attendees.
"The Navy has become a leader in renewable energy and advanced biofuels by demonstrating a long term vision to advance clean energy and security. I want to congratulate Mabus and his team for their ongoing efforts," said Moniz. "The Department of Energy is committed to close cooperation with the Navy on clean energy. Mesquite Solar 1 and 3 exemplify how DOE provides crucial early financing to demonstrate cutting-edge projects at commercial scale for subsequent private sector investment."
"Our long-standing partnership with the U.S. Navy is a perfect example of our mission dedication. Together, we strengthen coordination efforts to enhance national energy security and demonstrate Federal government leadership as our nation transitions to a low carbon economy. Today, we celebrate the culmination of that partnership, of innovation and technology, and a better way of doing business," said Gabriel.
"Sempra U.S. Gas & Power could not be more pleased to celebrate this outstanding partnership with the Department of the Navy and Western Area Power Administration," said Sagara. "These organizations are helping drive our nation's energy future and this latest expansion of the Mesquite Solar complex reflects their progressive vision and leadership."
In addition to the energy security benefits to the DON, Mesquite Solar 3 will provide clean solar energy to the 14 installations contributing 21 percent of the energy needed to meet the Secretary of the Navy's one gigawatt goal, which the Navy's Renewable Energy Program Office surpassed at the end of 2015.
The list of installations that will be provided solar energy from the Mesquite 3 Solar facility include: Naval Base (NB) San Diego, NB Coronado, NB Point Loma, NB Ventura County, Naval Support Activity Monterey, Naval Weapons Station (NWS) Seal Beach, NWS Seal Beach Detachment Norco, NWS Seal Beach Detachment Fallbrook, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center 29 Palms, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego and Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center Bridgeport.