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Beyond efforts in Naval District Washington (NDW) to reduce traditional energy consumption and become more efficient, two of the key factors to building a sustainable future are renewable energy and alternative fuels.

As technology advances and these utilities become more financially accessible, NDW and Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) plan to develop and implement various projects at installations throughout the region.

“These opportunities will produce utility cost savings and support energy security while integrating and diversifying utility distribution systems to include increasing Smart Grid and Micro Grid capabilities,” the NDW/NAVFAC Washington Energy Program states. “Similar to our traditional energy project portfolios, we will create renewable energy portfolios based on approaches that identify the best locations for renewable generation, and public and private financing options.”

Navy energy leaders are evaluating a number of renewable and alternative energy sources including wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, and alternative fuel non-tactical vehicles. Additionally, the Navy has set a goal of making half of all installations net zero energy consumers.

Net zero refers to buildings that produce as much or more energy than they consume on an annual basis. In Naval Support Activity (NSA) Washington, the Washington Navy Yard Visitor Center recently became certified as a net zero building through the use of geothermal and micro-wind turbines, along with LED lighting and cellulose insulation.

Two micro-wind turbines on the neighboring parking deck help provide electricity into a battery system which can be used in the event of a power failure.

Beyond the net zero project at the visitors’ center, NDW is also exploring alternative fuel non-tactical vehicle options. Several electric cars and charging stations are located on the first floor of the parking deck.

Lt. Cmdr. Keith Benson, NDW energy director, said NDW is in the process of collecting electric vehicle and alternative fuel data important to future decisions on how vehicles and fuel are used. NDW and NAVFAC have set a goal to reduce petroleum usage and to annually increase alternative fuel usage by 10 percent.

Benson said NDW has been conducting numerous studies on renewable energy capabilities in the last year to support Task Force Energy and the 1-Gigawatt Task Force, a Department of the Navy (DON)-chartered project to oversee implementation of the Navy energy strategy.

“We have partnered with the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) to expand our renewable energy capabilities and determine the sites that we want to invest in,” Benson explained. “We specifically focused on photovoltaic and found that we have more than 40 megawatts of capability within NDW that need further analysis and development.”

With the Washington, D.C. Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC) market offering incentive credits for solar projects, Benson said Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling (JBAB) was identified as a good location to explore photovoltaic options.

“JBAB presents the best opportunity and has a current capability of 10 megawatts over two sites, Bolling and Anacostia,” Benson said.

Expanding use of renewable energy and alternative fuels represents one of the five energy “pillars” identified to achieve goals laid out in the 2013 NDW Energy Policy Statement, working in conjunction with energy efficiency, security, information, and building a positive energy culture.

In 2009, Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus set five energy goals for DON: increase alternative energy use Navywide, increase alternative energy ashore, reduce non-tactical petroleum use, sail the “Great Green Fleet,” and acquire energy efficiency, according to a 2012 DON Strategy for Renewable Energy report.

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