MCLB Albany First Department of Defense Site to Achieve a Zero Energy Milestone>USMC> View News

MCLB Albany First Department of Defense Site to Achieve a Zero Energy Milestone>USMC> View News

This day is more than a decade in the making, and involved the efforts of dozens at the Marine Corps Logistics Base in Albany. It’s been on the minds of officials from across the Department of Defense for some time.

MCLB Albany can now call itself an electrically “Net Zero” base. It is the first Department of Defense facility to achieve this achievement in energy efficiency.

“MCLB Albany not only provides strategic value to Marine Corps veterans through sustainability and modernization, but now boasts the incredible achievement of the first Net Zero installation in the Department of Defense,” said Marine Corps Commander Gen. David Berger. The result of years of hard-working al-Qaeda leaders.”

Net Zero is defined as producing as much electricity from renewable “green” energy sources as it consumes from its utility provider measured in a year.

“This is a tremendous job by everyone at the base,” said Col. Michael Fitzgerald, commanding officer of MCLB Albany. “The base can be self-sustaining in terms of energy with the resources we have available. The taxpayer gets a breather.”

It also provides MCLB Albany with a buffer zone to reference when natural disasters, such as the EF3 cyclone that hit the base in January 2017, destroy electrical infrastructure.

“MCLB Albany is the first facility in the entire Department of Defense to achieve net zero energy, generating more energy than you consume by implementing a suite of climate-friendly solutions,” said Navy Secretary Carlos del Toro. “I am proud of the work done at MCLB Albany by working in close coordination with a variety of partners to make this base more resilient, save taxpayers money, and be better equipped to meet its primary mission: ensuring Marines around the world get what they need to fight and win.”

“The Marine Corps is proactively investing in efficient new facility infrastructure through partnerships with private industry to improve the energy security posture of its facilities…” Walter Ludwig, Director of Public Works for the Marine Corps Facilities Command

“The Marine Corps is proactively investing in efficient new facility infrastructure through partnerships with private industry to improve the energy security posture of its facilities and deliver flexible energy capabilities,” said Walter Ludwig, Director of Public Works for the Marine Corps Facilities Command. “This means that our facilities will be able to maintain essential functions and critical services over an extended period of time, ensuring Warrior’s success.”

“MCLB Albany’s load separation and peak shaving capabilities, island laying operations and innovative energy technologies, including biomass steam turbines, landfill gas generators, and advanced micro-grid controls, make it a leader in achieving ‘Net Zero’ energy and climate resilience in a timely manner. One goals,” added Ludwig.

With reaching new heights in terms of energy savings, this achievement sets an example for other facilities.

“For me, it’s a great way that other bases can look at the different definitions of Net Zero,” Fitzgerald said. “In cases of natural disasters we can stand alone and get our job done.”

The benefit to taxpayers is significant, even if they can’t see it.

We were spending millions on energy. “Now we’re in a big drop,” Fitzgerald said. “Our system is built in such a way that on the rare days that we pull off the grid, it’s not a drain.”

The concept, when exported to other stations, is most effective when it is adapted to the resources at the site where the station is located in the surrounding area. Some areas, for example, work better with wind, while solar energy works better with others.

“You have to customize it by installation,” Fitzgerald said.

Among those who put in a great deal of effort was Hubert “Ski” Smigelski. Smigelski is now retired, but until recently held the position of deputy director of the base’s installation and environment division.

The goal set by the Secretary of the Navy in 2010 was to put half of the bases under SECNAV’s authority at Net Zero.

“We were looking for ways to get there,” Smegelsky said.

Partnerships eventually played a pivotal role. MCLB Albany found one at Procter & Gamble. The Albany Procter & Gamble plant, a short distance from the Albany MCLB fence line, eventually became home to the Albany Green Energy biomass project that uses wood biomass fuels to generate steam and power.

“We use low-pressure steam from the biomass project,” Smegelsky said. “All the (energy efficiency) things we’ve done are related to Net Zero.”

The new LED lighting at Production Plant Albany, on its own, helped offset a significant amount of energy.

“Once we lowered that load, it became a lot easier to get[to Net Zero],” Smegelsky said.

The production plant is affiliated with the Marine Corps Logistics Command, the principal tenant of MCLB Albany.

Net Zero’s announcement came as soon as the meter reading had been at zero for a year. Once day 365 passed, Georgia Power gave the rule a thumbs up.

Les Charles, director of federal, state and military key accounts, Georgia Power, said the utility company had been working with MCLB Albany for a number of years while the installation sought to reach Net Zero status.

“The addition of an 8.5 megawatt biomass steam turbine generator, or STG, was the latest project that aided their efforts,” Charles said. “STG, along with two landfill gas generators connected to each other with Georgia Power, allows MCLB to supply most of its power needs as well as occasionally export power to Georgia Power.”

He added, “A lot of effort, achievement and time has been spent over several years helping core leadership on projects to help get to this point. We are proud to have played a role.”

net zero
Photo by Jonathan Wright

Jay Smith, Albany District Manager, Georgia Power, said the partnership between MCLB Albany and Georgia Power holds benefits on multiple fronts.

“Georgia Power is excited to work with MCLB because they are a great partner and have a great team to not only defend our nation, but also contribute to the prosperity of our region and help reduce carbon emissions,” Smith said.

At first, a lot of effort was made to sell the idea to the leadership of the Pentagon. Smigelski said it has been difficult to get them to understand what Net Zero is and why it is important.

“It took about three or four years to start rolling the ball,” he said. “We had to stick to it.”

“It was worth it. We showed the rest of the Department of Defense that we can do this.”

In the end everything worked out.

“It feels great,” Smegelsky said. “It’s a great achievement. We’ve done something worthwhile for the Marine Corps. It’s a crowning moment for the Marine Corps.”

“I know I had a role in getting there, even though so many contributed to this project,” he added.

The MCLB Albany Energy Program began in 2005 with the goal of making the installation the first in the Marine Corps to reach Net Zero. On average, MCLB Albany has a peak consumption of 4-6 MW in winter and 8-11 MW in summer.

The installation has seen the following achievements over the past several years as a result of its energy efficiency efforts:

· HVAC upgrades at the grassroots level. Cost: $1.42 million, annual savings of $386,000

· Geothermal energy storage heat pumps. Cost: $7.2 million annual savings of $521,000

· Well thermal energy storage. Cost: $5.2 million annual savings of $224,000

· Energy saving performance contract for compressed air/infrared light/heat project. Cost: $14.2 million, annual savings of $1.2 million

· Energy saving contract for landfill gas generator. Cost: $20.6 million, annual savings of $1.67 million. Completed by a contract with Chevron, it includes three miles of pipeline and a 25-year purchase agreement with Dougherty County to purchase methane.

· Wide base LED lighting

The base contains 27 diesel backup generators for 7 megawatts of total power generation. Two gas generators in landfills generate 4 megawatts. The biomass steam turbine generator at the nearby Procter & Gamble plant generates 8.5 megawatts of power with steam from burning biomass.

The contract with Constellation New Energy, awarded on September 30, 2016, is worth $170 million for 23 years. This includes two years for construction and 21 years for performance.

The CNE contract brought with it seven measures to conserve energy:

· 8.5MW biomass steam turbine generator

· 2.1 megawatts landfill gas generators

· Lighting adjustment (10,000 thousand lights / 132 attachments)

· Four upgrades for industrial air compressor

· 68 Transformer Alternatives

· Three clay boiler installations

· Intelligent Microgrid Controls / Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition

As of this month, all these procedures have been completed except for the installation of the mud cylinder, boiler and smart micro-grid controls.

The contract performance period in which the Contractor will be assessed to achieve net annual net zero extends from February 1, 2021 to February 1 of this year. Electricity consumption data is available

for the year 2021. During this time MCLB Albany exported a total net worth of 7.9 MWh to the electrical grid, making the installation Net Zero for the period.

Navy Lieutenant Commander. In 2009, the Navy and Marine Corps are committed to achieving five energy goals and providing direction for energy security and independence, said Michael Feeney, Public Works Officer, MCLB Albany. One of these goals was to increase alternative energy onshore through the construction of Net Zero facilities.

“MCLB Albany’s Net Zero means that they produce as much electricity over the course of a year from renewable sources at or near the facility as they consume in their buildings and facilities,” Finney said. “When the contract is completed, the installer retains all equipment and saves costs associated with producing its own electricity.”

“These projects provide the energy security and resilience of MCLBA,” he added.

The Navy published an Energy Security Framework in 2017 that emphasizes goals to enhance mission assurance through proven power, and defines the flexibility, reliability, and efficiency standards needed for facilities to enable proven missions.

By executive order issued in December, and through a fully coordinated government

Approach, the federal government has been directed to use its scope and purchasing power

To achieve 100% carbon-neutral electricity on a net annual basis by 2030, including 50% carbon-neutral electricity 24/7. It further calls for the acquisition of 100% zero-emission vehicles by 2035, including the acquisition of 100% zero-emission light vehicles by 2027.

The Energy Resilience and Conservation Investment Program, formally known as ECIP, is a subset of the DOD Military Construction Program specifically designed to fund projects that improve energy resilience, contribute to mission assurance, energy savings, and reduce energy costs for the Department of Defense. ERCIP achieves this by creating new highly efficient energy systems and technologies or by modernizing existing energy systems.

Energy saving performance contracts facilitate energy savings and improvements without upfront capital costs or special approvals from Congress. ESPC is a partnership between an agency and an energy services company.

Moving forward at MCLB Albany, the focus is on increasing the electrification of the base’s government fleet.

Next, the installation intends to install 21 chargers in nine locations to service an all-electric fleet of government vehicles in the future, said Feeney.

Fitzgerald said the future is likely to build on existing foundations to become more energy efficient. Part of this is the increased effort to bring electric vehicles.

“Most of the carbon emissions come from the transportation sector,” the colonel said. “We have learned a lot of lessons. As we build bases for the future, we will know how to use the natural resources in that region.”

Georgia Power is a partner in helping to electrify the MCLB Albany fleet.

“Georgia Power is currently partnering with MCLB to design and install an electric vehicle charging system via installation,” Charles said.

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