News: Base Benefits From Alternative 'Green' Power
Story by Spc. Megan Burnham
By Megan Burnham
Joint Task Force Guantanamo Public Affairs
GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba - One of the biggest projects the Navy has undergone, and one of the most noticeable, is the construction of the wind turbines on top of John Paul Jones Hill. It has actually been three years since the four, three-bladed, turbines have been in use and the effects generated have proven to be useful.
"The base has benefited from [using windmill power]," said Bill Keenan, project manager of Noresco, Inc., an energy saving performance construction corporation. "They [personnel on base] are not using as much fuel as they would normally use had the wind turbines not been here."
The wind turbine project started in 2002 when Keenan, who worked for public works office at the time, and the project developer for Noresco discussed a possible wind power project. The next step included Noresco asking the base to put up an anemometer, a device used for measuring wind speed, to track the wind on JPJ Hill and at the Leeward airfield. From the results generated by the device, the data showed the base would benefit in using wind power on the ridgeline.
"The anemometer provided an indication that the hill would be a favorable place to build wind turbines," said Keenan.
A series of events followed comprising of Noresco putting together a proposal, submitting it to the government, where fine tuning and negotiation of the contract took place, then finally the Navy decided to buy the project.
After sealing the deal, construction of the turbines began at the end of 2004 and was completed and operational by July 2005.
Investing in energy-saving projects has been increasing military wide while the wind turbine project was one of the first projects that the Navy had done.
"It was, at the time, the largest project where you had wind energy working with a diesel generating system," commented Keenan.
The turbines are rated to produce 3.8 megawatts of electricity but have produced up to 4.1 megawatts on windy days.
As the blades are turning, the generated energy travels straight to the main grid at the central avenue substation where it is distributed throughout the base. This means that the energy is being consumed as it is being made and everyone on base enjoys the results.
"I think the Navy is going to benefit from it overall," said Keenan. "We [Noresco] are glad to be a part of it and be at the forefront of the process."