The US Military is continuing to largely ignore the political debate on the subject of renewable energy, and instead simply note the advantages of the technologies, while continuing to make more and more use of them. The latest piece of evidence is recent news that the US Navy and Air Force recently commissioned 120 MW of new solar energy projects in the Sunshine State.
These 120 MW of new capacity are set to be spread across 3 different projects along the state’s Gulf Coast — thereby making use of the state’s substantial solar energy potential and making the military’s energy infrastructure in the region more resilient against volatility in the global markets.
Once completed, the 3 projects will be the largest solar PV power plants in Florida, and 3 of the largest on the whole of the East Coast, according to the developers — HelioSage Energy and Gulf Power Company.
The new capacity will be split amongst a 50 MW solar PV project to be developed at the Saufley Naval Outlying Landing Field in Pensacola, a 40 MW project being built at the Holley Naval Outlying Landing Field in Navarre, and a 30 MW project being developed at Eglin Air Force Base in Fort Walton Beach.
“These projects serve as another example that large-scale solar has become a cost-effective, proven technology, and one that will play a major role in the energy future of not only the Sunshine State, but the nation,” stated Chris Quarterman, vice president of strategy, HelioSage. “We congratulate Gulf Power and the Military for their leadership and vision, and look forward to working together on this collaborative effort.”
Once completed, the projects will be operated by HelioSage. Power purchase agreements have been made with Gulf Power Company. If all goes according to plan, construction will begin early next year and finish several months after that.
Considering the stance that the government of Florida has taken towards solar energy, this development is really quite humorous. Leave it to the military to be pragmatic about it, though — that is the military’s general concern after all, whereas politics is, after all, mostly just a matter of pandering to various different demographics.
Image Credit: US Navy