The army is going green and we’re not just talking about soldiers’ fatigues. Yesterday (May 15) Georgia Power announced that Forts Stewart, Benning and Gordon will each house roughly 30 megawatt solar power plants on to provide their power needs.
The Armed Forces are in a race of sorts to green their energy supply. Since the U.S. Department of Defense consumes more energy every year than some countries it’s looking for long-term reliable energy solutions with fixed and expected costs. Coal, oil and gas can’t promise that, while solar panels and wind can and each arm of the DOD, Army, Navy and Air Force have committed to 1 gigawatt of renewable energy by at least 2025. The 3 gigawatts will equal about 25 percent of the DOD’s energy needs.
The forts in Georgia are among the largest solar arrays yet named on military bases. They’re also among the largest announced projects in eastern U.S. Georgia Power will build, own and operate the three projects and sell the power to the forts under a power-purchase agreement. They are scheduled to be online by the end of 2016, according to Georgia Power.
"Through constructive regulation and thoughtful energy policy planning, Georgia is leading the way in developing cost-effective solar generation for customers," said Norrie McKenzie, vice president of renewable development for Georgia Power. "The agreement with the U.S. Army not only marks another step for Georgia Power's solar initiatives, but further enhances the state's position as a solar leader and will strengthen both the bases and the surrounding communities."
Though Georgia does not have a renewable portfolio standard, Georgia Power is increasing the amount of solar it has in its network. By 2016, the company anticipates having 900 megawatts of solar power online in the peach state. While the vast majority of that will be larger PV facilities, the company also is supporting residential solar. It’s supporting up to 11 megawatts of residential and small commercial systems under 100 kilowatts in size by the end of 2014, making it one of the larger utilities to voluntarily add in such large amounts solar.
The new disclosures about the solar arrays at Army bases came about as part of the utility's updated Renewable Resource Action Plan filed with the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC). Under the plan, the Georgia PSC approved the development of three cost-effective renewable projects of less than 30 MW to be owned by Georgia Power. “The three projects will be brought online at or below the company's avoided cost, the amount projected it would cost the company to generate comparable energy from other sources,” the utility said. Through the company’s solar programs it anticipates that more than 500 projects will come online in the state in the next few years.Tweet