The California Energy Commission (CEC) and the U.S. Department of the Navy have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to partner on renewable energy initiatives, including solar projects at military bases.
CEC Chair Robert B. Weisenmiller and Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations and Environment Dennis V. McGinn signed the agreement formalizing a partnership that supports Navy and Marine Corps installation efforts to develop alternative energy resources and increase energy security and reliability. According to the CEC, the MOU ensures continued collaboration and information sharing on energy projects and initiatives.
“California and the Navy are taking action to boost energy efficiency and curb our dependence on fossil fuels,” commented Gov. Jerry Brown, D-Calif. “This agreement will help expand renewable energy at military bases and secure water supplies in the face of drought.”
The MOU helps implement some of the key recommendations made by the Governor’s Military Council last year, and a recent joint project between the Navy and the CEC included the installation of a solar microgrid system with battery storage to ensure mission readiness should the commercial power grid fail at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.
In 2009, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus set aggressive renewable energy goals to spur the development of alternative power and energy-efficient technology and operational procedures. Recognizing the benefits of alternative energy, Mabus stood up the Renewable Energy Program Office (REPO) in order to accelerate his goals and bring 1 GW of renewable energy into procurement by the end of 2015 – which REPO completed in just 18 months, according to the CEC.
The CEC notes it also works with renewable energy developers to ensure their proposed projects in the state do not interfere with space owned, leased or used by the military for training or testing.
“One of the three pillars critical to the Navy and Marine Corp’s energy transformation is partnerships, like the strong and enduring one we have with the State of California,” said McGinn. “Working together, we are using sustainable energy to increase the resiliency, energy and water security of our installations throughout California, while aiding the state’s leadership in achieving its energy and environmental goals, for the benefit of all Californians.”
Following the MOU signing, McGinn revealed that REPO has entered agreements to develop solar energy and solar+storage projects at three Navy installations in California.
The REPO agreements include the development of the largest solar PV facility on Department of Defense land at Naval Air Station Lemoore; a solar power and large-scale battery storage system at Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach; and solar power combined with battery technology to supply energy to smaller critical loads indefinitely at Naval Base Ventura County. The announcement of these projects helps to further solidify the collaborative efforts between the Department of the Navy and the State of California, according to the CEC.
In a separate press release, battery provider UniEnergy Technologies (UET) has revealed some details about the aforementioned solar+storage project at Naval Base Ventura County, located in Port Hueneme, Calif. The company, which will supply a grid-scale vanadium flow battery, says the project includes a 6 MW solar installation combined with a 4.5 MW/18 MWh UET Uni.System in a microgrid.
UET adds that, in return for a low-cost land lease of 44 acres on Navy property, the Navy has the right to utilize the power, energy and other attributes of the storage-enabled microgrid in the event of a grid outage, to support critical loads, even if an outage extends weeks or months, without requiring external fuel supplies. Under normal grid operations, the solar and storage capacity generated by the microgrid will be purchased by a third-party off-taker. In addition to providing the energy storage system, UET will own and operate the facility working closely with the REPO.
“The U.S. Navy is on the leading edge of implementing energy storage and renewable energy solutions to support critical operations,” said Michael Carr, UET’s vice president of strategic and western sales. “We look forward to working with the Navy on this and future projects.”
In addition to the solar projects, the CEC notes that McGinn also announced that the Navy and Marine Corps will lease 205 new electric vehicles for use at California installations, the largest integration of electric vehicles in the federal government.