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MCLB hosts military conference

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

MCLB-ALBANY -- Military installations and various organizations throughout the state were recently in Albany exchanging ideas on how they might soften their carbon footprint.

Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany hosted the Georgia Military Installation Energy Conference Tuesday.

The event comprised of various military bases around Georgia as well as private enterprises to discuss what energy-efficiency methods have worked for them, and which ones have not while making attempts to meet presidential, congressional and federal mandates for energy conservation.

"We are here to trade some practices," said Col. Terry Williams, commanding officer of the base.

A primary topic of the meeting was the base's landfill gas project, an energy-saving initiative which will convert methane gas from a nearby landfill into clean, useable energy.

This project is the first of its kind in the entire Marine Corps.

"It's to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels, it helps with energy security and it's the right thing to do," Williams said.

Dougherty County and the Marine base entered into a 20-year partnership late last year allowing the county to sell landfill gas, produced at the Fleming/Gaissert Road landfill, to the installation. The gas will be used to operate a 1.9 megawatt combined heat and power generator.

The project will allow MCLB-Albany to utilize landfill gas to produce electricity on-site, which will offset the purchase of power as well as natural gas from steam production. Implementation will bring the base's total renewable energy use to 22 percent overall.

"One of our mandates is to increase (the base's amount) of renewable energy," Williams said. "Instead of burning (carbon dioxide), we will use it to convert into energy. Because we are producing renewable energy, we are getting 22 percent usage but we are also doubling it by using (the energy) -- which comes out to 44 percent."

The base is mandated to be operating at 50 percent renewable energy usage by 2025.

Once it's up and running, the county will be responsible for extracting gas from the landfill to MCLB's processing equipment. The base will be responsible for processing, compression and transmission of the gas to the installation. Chevron Energy Services has been contracted to execute the project.

"This is a cutting-edge thing for us," said Fred Broome, the base's installation and environment division director.

The conference also addressed other issues such as heating, lighting and waste diversion. The event, in its second year, ran from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. This is the first year it has been hosted at the Albany installation.

"We have been learning a lot," Broome said at the conference's halfway point. "As proud as we are for our progress, we need to capture others' thoughts.

"This is for folks to talk and learn from each other. We are under a lot of mandates. To be able to meet those mandates, we have to do things like this. Many mandates go out to 10-15 years, but we have to start today."

Moody Air Force Base, Blount Island Command, Robins Air Force Base, Chevron Energy Solutions and Southern Company were among the visiting organizations in attendance. Representatives from Albany State University and the University of Georgia were also present.

A list provided by base officials indicated there were a total of 42 attendees scheduled to be present. Robins Air Force Base was the host last year.