FORT HOOD, Texas –
Defense Logistics Agency Energy Commander Air Force Brig. Gen. Martin Chapin attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony with other senior officials for the first large-scale renewable energy solar and wind project at Fort Hood, Texas, June 2.
The construction of more than 60,000 solar panels and 21 wind turbines will provide Fort Hood with 65 megawatts of alternating current, with the on-site solar system providing 15 megawatts of energy and the remaining energy coming from a 50 megawatt off-site wind facility.
"DLA Energy is a proud team partner with the Army in this large-scale renewable energy project, providing clean and reliable energy from solar, wind and conventional resources to ensure Fort Hood's energy demands are satisfied for decades to come," Chapin said.
The firm-fixed price contract for renewable energy is lower than the projected prices for conventional energy and will provide Fort Hood with greater budgetary stability for electricity over the 28-year delivery period.
"If you're pro defense you should like this project, if you're pro renewable energy you should like this project and if you like jobs you should like this project," said Richard Kidd, deputy assistant Secretary of the Army Strategic Integration.
Because of the micro-grid capable system, future enhancements will enable securing and sustaining all critical missions. In the event the wind facility goes off-line, the post will continue to receive power from the solar array as well as conventional energy from the grid to ensure all power requirements are satisfied.
“When we encounter a rare opportunity like we have here to find a resilient, effective and efficient solution, that's a win-win, and those are opportunities we want to make sure we exploit all the time,” Chapin said.
The 130-acre solar farm at Fort Hood was made possible through a contract awarded by DLA Energy in January 2016, to support the Army’s strategic objective for resilient and assured access to energy supplies for critical installation operations.
Since DLA Energy executed the contract award for Fort Hood, contract specialists will continue to monitor performance and provide contract administrative support to the Army and Fort Hood for the next 28 years.
“This project provides reliable energy from a large-scale on-site renewable resource and supports both the Army and DoD strategy for greater energy security at fixed installations,” said DLA Energy Installation Energy Director Pam Griffith.
DLA Energy procures more than $400 million annually in electricity and renewable energy in support of Defense Department installations; however, this is DLA Energy’s first contract that includes provisioning and purchasing electricity from newly constructed on and off-site generation assets using two different renewable energy technologies.
Since solar and wind are intermittent resources, the deal also includes the purchase of electricity from conventional resources to supplement the renewable energy to ensure Fort Hood’s full electricity demand is satisfied, Griffith said.
“This is the largest Army warfighting platform, so the fact that this creates an opportunity to make sure this installation always has energy is absolutely the single most important thing in my mind,” Chapin said.
The Fort Hood solar project is the result of a collaborative partnership between the Army Office of Energy Initiatives, Fort Hood, DLA Energy, APEX Clean Energy and the Army Corps of Engineers.
“If we're not making sure the energy is getting down to the warfighter, then we've completely missed the boat,” Chapin said.