DPW, Hawaiian Electric employees bring home federal energy award
Keith Yamanaka, U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii energy manager, is interviewed by David Aquino and Leigh Mayberry of Blue Planet Foundation for a news program, Nov. 8, 2021. Yamanaka, along with Travis Fellinger, and Monte Martin (who has since retired) from the garrison’s Directorate of Public Works, along with two Hawaiian Electric team members earned a 2022 Federal Energy and Water Management Award. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD, Hawaii – Three garrison employees were recently honored with a Department of the Energy award that recognizes individuals and organizations for significant contributions to energy and water efficiency within the federal government.

Keith Yamanaka, Travis Fellinger and Monte Martin from the garrison’s Directorate of Public Works, along with Stanford Yamada and Michael DeCaprio from Hawaiian Electric Company took home a project-level Federal Energy and Water Management Award for the Schofield Generating Station Microgrid Black Start exercise.

The term “black start” refers to the ability to start an electrical system from a state of complete shutdown: where no generation assets are running and the high voltage transmission and lower voltage distribution lines are de-energized.

From May 22-23, 2021, the garrison’s Directorate of Public Works, along with Hawaiian Electric completed a successful black-start exercise for Schofield Barracks, Wheeler Army Airfield, and Field Station Kunia using manual load control.

The exercise demonstrated power could be restored to Schofield Barracks, Wheeler Army Airfield and Field Station Kunia within 2 hours and sustain all loads for 33 hours using 100% renewable energy.

The Directorate of Public Works and Hawaiian Electric coordinated their actions to perform 184 switching operations to successfully separate from the grid, restore power with the Schofield Generating Station, interconnect two megawatts of solar-generated power sources and transfer back to the grid with no deviation in power quality or trip events.

Savings is the avoided cost of installing a computer-controlled load system and remote switch operation estimated to be $13 million.

The primary tangible benefit is that this control system is not vulnerable to cyber-attack and utilizes personnel requirements already in place to support day-to-day functions of both the Army and Hawaiian Electric.

The requirement to utilize personnel for load control ensures that knowledge and capabilities are maintained.

During normal operations, the Schofield Generating Station provides power to the Oahu grid throughout peak demand periods and also mitigates variations caused by wind or solar power generation. Although capable of operating on biodiesel or diesel, since commissioning in 2018, it has operated on 100% locally refined biodiesel.

The station is also the only baseload power generation facility on Oahu located inland, protected from the potential impact of storms, tsunamis and rising sea level.

Wheeler Army Airfield can be utilized as an active field or staging area for the National Guard, Civil Air Patrol, or Federal Emergency Management Agency during an emergency.

The successful test proves no matter what emergency hits the island, the Army will be able to continue its operations -- whether that is in support of civil authorities or preparing to deploy forces throughout the Indo-Pacific region.

The success of the project has strengthened the Army’s and Hawaiian Electric’s partnership for energy goals, project development, and now operationalization of renewable resilience.

Each year the Federal Energy and Water Management Awards recognize individuals, groups, and agencies for their outstanding contributions in the areas of energy and water efficiency, resilience, and technology achievements; distributed energy; cybersecurity; and fleet management at federal facilities.

The awards are sponsored by the Department of Energy’s Federal Energy Management Program.

The Federal Energy Management Program intends to distinguish federal employees who developed and implemented exemplary, cost-effective projects and programs that cut energy waste and advance America’s progress toward energy independence, resilience, and security, while also advancing federal agency missions.

The five energy professionals will be honored at the upcoming Energy Exchange, held Oct. 26 in Cincinnati, Ohio. It is the first time the federal awards will be presented in person.

Keith Yamanaka serves as the garrison’s energy manager, Travis Fellinger is the high voltage supervisor, and Monte Martin retired as the chief of the Operations and Maintenance Division’s Utilities Branch.