U.S. Army, Fort Bragg
At a Glance
Clean and Renewable Energy
Fort Bragg, NC
Net Present Value:
Annual kWh Savings:
Annual CO2 Reductions:
15,000 metric tons
Dennis Bartlett evaluated distributed generation and recommended a combined cooling heat and power system.
The U.S. Department of Defense is the single largest energy user in the United States, and with over 800 million gross square feet of space, the U.S. Army consumes more energy to power, heat and cool its facilities than any other Defense Service. While efforts continue to increase end-use conservation and efficiency, the U.S. Army recognizes opportunities for distributed generation to provide cost savings, enhance energy security and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The U.S. Army Garrison Fort Bragg enlisted Dennis Bartlett to assist the energy team in evaluating distributed generation and microgrid pilot projects, including a combined cooling heat and power (CCHP) system and a solar/storage system. The energy team, eager to deploy more distributed generation, but constrained by limited funding, needed to analyze these technologies against a variety of future conditions and determine which systems best achieve goals and mandates while saving taxpayer money.
Using a variety of technical data, discussion with team members and analysis tools, Bartlett weighed the up-front expenses of distributed generation systems against future energy savings and added operations and maintenance requirements. This analysis required an in-depth understanding of how Fort Bragg procures energy and the complex rate structures under which it is billed, as well as insights into the uncertainty of future fuel prices. As a large general service customer, Fort Bragg pays some of the lowest electric rates in the state, creating a substantial hurdle for energy efficiency of conservation measures. However, substantial costs are not accounted for in these rates, including distribution systems and backup generation. Bartlett sought to change the perception of “cheap” electricity while also promoting aggressively cost-effective solutions that meet even the strictest accounting methods.
Bartlett determined that while unit costs for solar/storage solutions are decreasing, ultimately combined cooling heat and power (CCHP) was best suited for the Fort Bragg cantonment. Owing to the heavy concentration of electrical and thermal loads, Fort Bragg has enormous potential to benefit from both on-site generation as well as waste heat resources – achieving plant-level efficiencies near 80 percent and avoiding transmission losses. A 5 megawatt system could offset over 15,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year and save over $9 million dollars in present value, compared to grid electricity and a traditional central utility plant. Most importantly, these CCHP systems provide increased energy security and resiliency against natural disasters and sabotage beyond the fence line – enhancing Fort Bragg’s readiness to respond to military and humanitarian missions.