Fort Hood's hybrid renewable energy project wins award

By Christine Luciano, environmental outreach coordinator, Directorate of Public Works, Fort Hood, TexasOctober 31, 2018

Solar panels line 132 acres in Central Texas
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Secretary of the Army Energy and Water Management Award for On-Site Energy Generation presented
2 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Jordan Gillis, acting assistant secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment, and Brig. Gen. Joy Curriera, director of operations for the assistant chief of staff for Installation Management, recognized Fort Hood and its partners ... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Wind turbines in North Texas help provide renewable energy
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Championing innovation and commitment, Fort Hood was recognized for its achievements to improve energy security and increase the installation's capacity of renewable energy produced.

Jordan Gillis, acting assistant secretary of the Army for installations, energy and environment, presented Fort Hood with the 2018 Secretary of the Army Energy and Water Management Award for On-Site Energy Generation at a ceremony Aug. 23 in Cleveland, Ohio.

"The entire team is very deserving of this award, as this was the first and currently only, garrison to combine two sources of renewable into one hybrid project," said Bobby Lynn, Fort Hood chief of the Energy Management Branch.

Installations, small groups and individuals from the Army, Army Reserve and Army National Guard were recognized for their achievements in energy efficiency, energy management and water conservation.

"The accomplishments of these awardees are truly impressive," Gillis said. "Across the federal government, you are helping lead the way -- improving energy resilience, advancing energy efficiency, deploying renewables and alternative energy solutions, and improving water management and utility infrastructure."

Lynn highlighted how his team's can-do attitude contributed to their successes and accomplishments.

"The Energy Branch operates both in a proactive and reactive mode," Lynn said. "In a reactive mode, we ensure the implementation of regulatory compliance, and in a proactive mode, we provide strategic planning and long-term commitments to improving the efficient use of energy."

After four years of planning efforts by a team of engineers and subject matter experts in contracting, federal acquisition regulations and financing, the hybrid renewable energy project was operational in 2017, and has provided substantial benefits for the climate, community and economy.

"It significantly reduces emissions and provides jobs and other economic benefits," Lynn said. "Partnering with commercial energy service companies not only provides access to an in-depth knowledge base on renewables, but it also provides access to capital funding that the government doesn't have quick access to, thus being able to study, design and construct a project much quicker and provides savings much sooner, than using federal funding."

Lynn and his team collaborated with the Office of Energy Initiatives and Defense Logistics Agency Energy to develop a comprehensive project to be installed with no upfront cost to the Army. The long-term commitment enabled the contractor to finance, build and operate the solar and wind sites and deliver power to Fort Hood that is less expensive than conventional power.

"Great leadership and support from OEI and the outstanding contract support from DLA created a hybrid solar and wind project, which is the largest renewable energy project in the Army," Gillis said.

A field of 63,000 solar panels, spanning more than132 acres on West Fort Hood and 21 wind turbines in the Texas panhandle region saved $2.5 million in energy costs in the past fiscal year, while providing 39 percent of the installation's total energy from renewables.

The onsite solar field is micro-grid capable for future enhancements that will enable securing and sustaining critical missions.

If the wind energy generation goes offline, Fort Hood will continue to receive power from the solar field as well as conventional commercial energy from the grid.

"Fort Hood will continue to research and seek out innovative technologies to continue striving toward the Army's energy reduction goal to reduce energy use, reduce energy cost and to increase use of renewable energy," Lynn said.