USA: SUBASE Eyes Wind Power Development to Cut Energy Costs

SUBASE Eyes Wind Power Development to Cut Energy Costs

October is Energy Awareness Month for the U.S. Navy, and at Naval Submarine Base New London (SUBASE), employing energy conservation as a means of reducing shore infrastructure costs to invest more in support of the warfighter, is in full swing.

In concert with many other clean energy programs, the SUBASE Public Works Department and the base detachment of Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Mid-Atlantic team are looking into capturing the power of wind as a method of promoting clean energy and energy independence.

The department recently installed a 193 foot wind survey tower in Polaris Park, located in the Balfour Beatty Housing Community, which will be used to study the amount of wind that gusts along the Thames River and may be a potential power source in the future.

“The tower will be up for at least a year to study wind patterns and the average velocity of wind in the area in order to determine if a utility size wind turbine would benefit the base,” said Bill Jankowski, energy manager at SUBASE Public Works Department. “If feasible, this would be a good deal for the Navy and a good deal for taxpayers.”

Electricity is the most expensive form of power that is purchased by the base according to an EPA study; SUBASE spent $10,864,429 on electric power in Fiscal Year 2011.

Jankowski said having a wind turbine would help to curtail those costs.

He estimates that one utility size wind turbine would output an average of two to five megawatts of power a year. Not including the shore power used to support submarines tied up to the piers, SUBASE commands use an average of 10 megawatts per year, so a turbine could make an impact of 20 to 50 percent.

“It’s all about reducing the operating costs of shore operations,” said Jankowski. “Energy efficiency and reducing our environmental footprint are big priorities for the Navy.”

The Navy has set aggressive goals to reduce overall energy consumption by 30 percent by 2015, and SUBASE and Jankowski’s team are committed to contributing to those goals.

The Navy has outlined a shore energy program that will increase the Navy’s energy security and comply with federal energy mandates by pursuing energy efficiency first, integrating viable renewable energy technology and transforming the service’s energy culture and behavior.

Through cooperation and collaboration, Jankowski believes the SUBASE community can make a significant impact on the nation’s energy security.

“When we are able to reduce costs ashore we can spend more of that money on our forces at sea and better support our warfighting abilities,” said Jankowski.

At a GreenGov Symposium in Washington, D.C., Secretary of the Navy Ray Maybus remarked about the direction the Navy is going with energy independence and how this will enhance the overall capabilities of the service.

“We are pursuing energy alternatives that will increase our energy security and make the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps more flexible and better warfighters,” said Mabus.

Through this lens, Jankowski is positive that Energy Awareness is an opportunity to enhance SUBASE’s primary mission of training Submariners and sending ships to sea.

But just as a submarine doesn’t truly come alive until a well-trained crew is aboard, SUBASE’s energy program relies on an observant population on base to make a difference, said Jankowski.

He and other members of the SUBASE energy conservation team will be working hard this month to remind all base personnel that making SUBASE Energy Smart cannot happen without an all-hands effort.

“Check the lights and power strips before you leave, and pick up a sweater,” Jankowski urged.

Press release, August 2, 2013; Image: Navy