CleanTechnica is the #1 cleantech-focused
website
 in the world. Subscribe today!


Green Economy fort_irwin

Published on October 16th, 2009 | by Susan Kraemer

2

How Fort Irwin Just Signed The Largest Solar Farm in Dept of Defense History: 1,000 MW

Share on Google+Share on RedditShare on StumbleUponTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookPin on PinterestDigg thisShare on TumblrBuffer this pageEmail this to someone

October 16th, 2009 by  

In a win-wIn move for the US Army and the USA, a mutually beneficial financing arrangement was signed this week between the US Army and a new partnership (“Irwin Energy Security Partners LLC”) comprising Clark Energy Group and multinational solar power giant Acciona. By using Enhanced Use Leasing they can now not only finance the solar project for Fort Irwin, but double the size to 1,000 megawatts.

The solution they came to this week provides a model for how to get around the difficulties encountered by utility scale solar companies in getting past NIMBY opposition and other roadblocks to developing big solar in the desert.

[social_buttons]

System to be built:

A 1,000 MW mixed solar thermal and solar PV power station will be built at Fort Irwin in stages, that is orders of magnitude larger than the 14 MW solar farm at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada and the 2 MW installation at Fort Carson in Colorado. The 5,000 recruits at Fort Irwin would only use 35 MW. The first phase will produce more than 500 MW of renewable energy or 1,250 gigawatt hours per year of solar power by 2022.

What the Army needs (and gets):

Net-zero energy. The US Army is under very strict requirements to get off fossil fuels fast. (previous story) But it’s hard for the Army finance its own solar development as doesn’t have the authority to sign 30 year contracts. As recently as August, when we covered the initial proposal, the US Army Energy Program Developer, Kevin Geiss was quoted as worrying that while they had the land and the demand; the problem was financing. At that time, only 500megawatts was being considered.

What it has and gives:

What the Army has to offer is longterm ownership of 14,000 acres of prime NIMBY-free land…in the Mojave desert. With a water supply and high-power transmission lines. It’s the nations largest military base.

What the company needs and gets:

A longterm lease on land for as long as they need it in order to get payback on a huge 1,000 MW solar system that will supply the grid with the energy to earn its payback.

What it has (and gives):

The financial wherewithal to get it done. And fossil-free power to supply the base with what it needs. First they will cover the needs of the base, 100%. By 2014, Fort Irwin will be running net-zero fossil fuels, 100% solar powered. They will deliver services such as operation and maintenance over the years and send the extra power to the grid.

Win Win

It enables Fort Irwin to get 100% of its energy needs covered by solar power, while a private company gets to build a large solar farm on prime Mojave Desert land perfect for solar with a long term lease and access to transmission to sell the remaining extra power it can generate. So, in exchange for a long lease, they signed an agreement to build and maintain what will ultimately be a 1,000 MW solar system, to be built in five stages, funded by energy sales to the grid.

What the USA needs and gets:

And it’s a huge win for the USA. We get the change. 965 MW of gorgeous sunshine power from the Mojave desert. (And a model for future solar development on Army owned land.)

What we have and give:

A courageous Department of Energy that awarded the builder, Clark Energy Group a $5 billion Super Energy Savings Performance Contract, and a US Army smart enough to pick Acciona, a 100 year old company with 20 years of renewable development experience.  We also put together the landmark renewable energy EUL that enables the development of a 1,000 megawatt solar power station by swapping what we need and what we have.

Great news for all of us and congrats to Fort Irwin for inking this great deal for the US Army and the USA!

Image: Flikr user Movave Desert

Source: Defense Industry Daily

Related stories:

Executive Order Requires US Govt Reduce CO2 30% by 2020

US Navy to Cut Greenhouse Emissions 50% by as Early as 2015

US Navy and Air Force Test Homegrown Fuel – 80% Lower GHG

Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.



Share on Google+Share on RedditShare on StumbleUponTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookPin on PinterestDigg thisShare on TumblrBuffer this pageEmail this to someone

Tags: , , , , , ,


About the Author

writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today, PV-Insider , SmartGridUpdate, and GreenProphet. She has also been published at Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow, and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design, Susan brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention, solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci-fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times.    Follow Susan on Twitter @dotcommodity.



  • Uncle B

    Sure beats the hell out of the smell of burning American bodies in foreign lands, for Oil we never get but through the OPEC straw! This is just the beginning, next, Solar to H2, O2, powered bullet trains with fuel cells for electric, pollution free foreign oil free, electric motor power, then a whole battalion of re-chargeable electric cars for short haul stuff! Every ray of sunlight converted to power on American soil, is “Wealth Added” to our economy! Every drop of foreign oil burnt on American soil is money lost to other countries and contributes to our potential destruction! Don’t get lost in the Global Warming hullabaloo! Think: “Follow the Dollars” – and stop selling out America to OPEC and their ilk! Start building Nuclear, Solar, Wind, Hydro, Tidal, and Geo-thermal power plants on American soil! Do not waste another day of sun, wind tide, waterfall, heat from the ground, the rippling of waves, We must “Get our Shiite together” in America an fight back! Super-insulate your home for cheaper cooling and heating! If a Canadian can live in Northern Alberta, totally solar heated, months at a time at – 40 degrees temperatures, comfortably, in a Straw Bale insulated home, why in Hell does Yankee Doodle, from much warmer latitudes need so damned much fuel? Is he guilty of sloth? Ignorance? foolhardiness? He is certainly on a suicide mission, destroying his own economy and doesn’t seem able to change? Is it lead in the water? Crap in his food supplies? Why? This Solar effort, an admission at least, of a better way, is music to the rest of the world’s ears, and gives hope to the dying economy of the greatest freedom fighters the world has ever known! We welcome the enlightenment and rejoice in it!

  • Uncle B

    Sure beats the hell out of the smell of burning American bodies in foreign lands, for Oil we never get but through the OPEC straw! This is just the beginning, next, Solar to H2, O2, powered bullet trains with fuel cells for electric, pollution free foreign oil free, electric motor power, then a whole battalion of re-chargeable electric cars for short haul stuff! Every ray of sunlight converted to power on American soil, is “Wealth Added” to our economy! Every drop of foreign oil burnt on American soil is money lost to other countries and contributes to our potential destruction! Don’t get lost in the Global Warming hullabaloo! Think: “Follow the Dollars” – and stop selling out America to OPEC and their ilk! Start building Nuclear, Solar, Wind, Hydro, Tidal, and Geo-thermal power plants on American soil! Do not waste another day of sun, wind tide, waterfall, heat from the ground, the rippling of waves, We must “Get our Shiite together” in America an fight back! Super-insulate your home for cheaper cooling and heating! If a Canadian can live in Northern Alberta, totally solar heated, months at a time at – 40 degrees temperatures, comfortably, in a Straw Bale insulated home, why in Hell does Yankee Doodle, from much warmer latitudes need so damned much fuel? Is he guilty of sloth? Ignorance? foolhardiness? He is certainly on a suicide mission, destroying his own economy and doesn’t seem able to change? Is it lead in the water? Crap in his food supplies? Why? This Solar effort, an admission at least, of a better way, is music to the rest of the world’s ears, and gives hope to the dying economy of the greatest freedom fighters the world has ever known! We welcome the enlightenment and rejoice in it!

Back to Top ↑