US Marine Corps completes $91 million storm-resilient energy system

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A 10 Megawatt (MW) distributed energy security project has been completed to ensure energy resiliency at Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) Parris Island (PI) in South Carolina.

The $91 million project has been implemented by renewable energy firm Ameresco at no upfront costs for MCRD PI.

The Marine Corps secured the energy savings performance contract with Ameresco through the department of energy in 2015

The system comprises resilient distributed generation, energy storage, and secure microgrid control systems to withstand potential storm and seismic conditions.

The systems include 3.5MW combined heat and power plant, three diesel generators, 20,000 solar panels providing 5.5MW of energy, parking space for 500 staff, 4.0MW/8MWh battery storage system and an intelligent microgrid controls system.

Ameresco will operate and maintain the system for a period of 22 years

The energy system will power the 8,000 acre depot even at times when the local grid goes down.

The project is expected to save the depot $6.9 million in annual utility and operational costs, reduces utility energy demand by 75%, and reduces water consumption by 25%.

A number of energy and water efficiency technologies and equipment has been installed at the depot.

Nicole Bulgarino, Executive Vice President at Ameresco, said: “Resiliency at MCRD Parris Island means providing uninterruptible power in support of critical training operations.

“Distributed generation systems like the comprehensive solution we have just built there deliver a layered defense against threats to the power supply. Ameresco is proud to partner with the USMC to lead by example and demonstrate how a military installation can both reduce energy and enhance resiliency with this unique contract vehicle.”

The Marine Corps depends on Parris Island, the only such training facility on the eastern seaboard, to turn approximately 20,000 recruits into Marines each year.