Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, visited Tooele Army Depot today to help break ground on the $9.6 million solar power renewable energy project that will help the Utah depot produce its own power.
"This is a glimpse of the future," Dempsey said. "Public and private partnerships, industry, academia and government must work together - the days when we, the U.S. military, could figure it out ourselves are long behind us."
Construction efforts on the 430 dishes will begin this fall on a 15 acre site on the depot. Energy generated would supply the equivalent of 300-400 homes, and when complete, will produce 30 percent of the depot's electricity.
"It's possible that some of this technology will migrate into our military world," Dempsey said.
Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment the Honorable Katherine Hammack also participated in the ground breaking. Hammack noted that the Defense Department has a goal of building renewal energy projects that can produce one gigawatt of electricity by 2025.
"Installations are encouraged to achieve "net zero" status, producing as much energy as they consume," Hammack said.
Tooele Army Depot Commander Col. Christopher Mohan echoed their sentiments.
"Our ability to get ammunition to the warfighter is the only reason we're here," Mohan said, referring to the depot's purpose. "Developing alternative energy sources allows us to support that mission more efficiently."
Mohan estimates that over the course of a year, the value of electricity produced by the solar array will equal nearly $260,000.
"Because of our western location and available land, we are one of the Army's leaders in energy efficiency efforts," Mohan said. Hawthorne Army Depot in Nevada, a subordinate of Tooele and another of Army Materiel Command's energy leaders, is well into its exploration of geothermal energy as a renewal source for that installation.
In addition to the solar array, a wind turbine was constructed in 2010. The first on an Army installation, at its full capacity, the turbine can produce enough energy to power up to 400 homes. A project has been submitted for a second wind turbine, and the depot has announced an industry day in September to solicit ideas for additional energy projects.
For 70 years, the Tooele Army Depot has provided readiness and rapid munitions response to America's allies and warfighters worldwide. The depot provides storage, inspection, maintenance and testing of training stocks as well as war reserve ammunition. The depot also designs, develops, manufactures and fields specialized equipment used in the maintenance and demilitarization of munitions all over the world. One of five wholesale ammunition and missile storage and distribution sites in the Defense Department, Tooele Army Depot serves as the primary western distribution hub for conventional ammunition, supplying all military services in the region.