From left, John Mahoney, senior vice president of Chevron Energy Solutions, Col. Terry Williams, commanding officer with MCLB-Albany, Jeff Sinyard, Dougherty County commission chair, and Maj. Gen. James Kessler, former base commander, show off the LFG gas-to-energy generator.
MCLB-ALBANY — With a simple flip of a switch, 19 percent of Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany’s power portfolio instantly became “green” and renewable, lowering the electric bill and saving money for taxpayers, officials said at a base ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday.
According to Col. Terry Williams, commanding officer of MCLB-Albany, the achievement goes a long way toward meeting the Navy mandate that 30 percent of all energy consumption be supplied through renewable sources by 2015.
“Meeting the mandate is critical,” Williams said, “but more than that, I think it solidifies our relationship with the county. This is just the beginning. We’ve got plans.”
The Landfill Gas to Energy project is a partnership between MCLB-Albany and Dougherty County to use methane gas generated naturally at the Fleming/Gaissert Road landfill to power a 1.9-megawatt combined heat and power generator at the Marine base.
Designed and built by Chevron Energy Services, the power plant is on the technical cutting edge of green energy production and the first of its kind in the Department of the Navy, Williams said.
Maj. Gen. James Kessler, commanding officer of MCLB-Albany until July of 2011, recognized the late Gil Barrett for his initial leadership in the LFG project.
“Many years ago, Mr. Gil Barrett, chair of the Dougherty County Commission, had a vision and set down the landfill project,” Kessler said. “He was able to attend the groundbreaking but passed away before the power plant was realized.”
John Mahoney, senior vice president of Chevron Energy Solutions, which designed and built the system, expressed excitement over the savings of $1.8 million in annual energy costs, as well as a significant decrease in carbon emissions.
“It’s the same as taking 16,000 cars off the road,” Mahoney said.
Dougherty County, which owns and operates the landfill, has entered into a 20-year contract with the Marine base to provide gas for the power plant, project sources said. After the landfill gas, or LFG, is extracted using a special vacuum system, it is compressed, dehydrated and piped to the base to be used in reciprocating engines to produce electricity.
In addition to electricity produced by the generators, heat from the engine stack and jacket will heat water to 180-200 degrees F. The hot water will be used for a number of purposes at locations near the power plant, Williams said.
“It’s wonderful we’re able to partner with the Marine base on this project and create the very first LFG-to-energy system in the Department of the Navy,” Dougherty County Commission Chairman Jeff Sinyard said. “We hope that when more LFG becomes available, we can put another unit in just like this one.”
Sinyard stressed that the cost-lowering benefit of the base power plant will be a major point for MCLB-Albany when base cutbacks are considered.
“Congress is making cuts as we speak,” Sinyard said. “The bases that are moving in the right directions costwise will do better not only in terms of keeping the jobs they have, but also toward bettering their positions and adding even more jobs.”