U.S. Navy, California Energy Commission partner on renewable energy

While congressional and state-level leaders from the Republican Party continue to block President Obama’s climate and clean energy initiatives, the president has more quietly been transforming the way that the federal government uses and procures energy.

Among his most important partners in this endeavor has been the U.S. military. While the Department of Defense has set a goal to meet at least 20% of its energy demand with renewable energy resources by fiscal year 2020, the Navy has a more ambitious goal to derive 50% of its consumption from alternative sources by 2020, and has already procured more than 1 GW of renewable energy.

Yesterday the Navy signed an MOU with the California Energy Commission to ensure “continued collaboration and information sharing” on energy projects and initiatives, with a focus on renewable energy.

Previous joint projects between the two organizations include a solar microgrid with battery storage at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, which will allow the base to function in the event of a power failure. However, what is coming in the future is much larger, with the Navy signing agreements to develop solar PV and PV and energy storage installations at three Navy installations in California.

These include plants for a PV and battery systems at Naval Base Ventura County and Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach, as well as what has been described as the largest PV system planned for land controlled by the U.S. military in the United States.

The project at Naval Air Station Lemoore was initially planned to be 390 MW in capacity, however subsequent media reports put the project at either 150 or 390 MW. pv magazine was unable to determine the current capacity or status of the project by press time.

Additionally, the Navy plans to lease 205 electric vehicles for deployment at its installations in California, as the largest integration of electric vehicles by the federal government.

This meeting also came two days before the Navy is set to dedicate a new 150 MW-AC solar PV project which has come online in Arizona, and which will provide 1/3 of the power for 14 Navy and Marine bases in California.

Sempra U.S. Gas and Power’s Mesquite Solar 3 is the third of the company’s large PV plants near Tonopah, Arizona, which total 400 MW-AC. The plant’s official dedication ceremony will feature U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, and will be held tomorrow.