July 3, 2014 --
Calling himself an advocate for Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany as well as other Marine Corps and Navy installations, the Honorable Roger Natsuhara, principal deputy assistant secretary of the Navy (Energy, Installations and Environment) visited the installation for the first time, June 25.
His daylong visit here included various briefs, meeting part of the base’s Installation and Environment Division workforce, and touring the base, Marine Depot Maintenance Command/ Production Plant Albany, the landfill gas-to-energy plant and Procter & Gamble Co. in Albany, Georgia.
“From what I’ve seen (the base) is doing a great job,” Natsuhara said. “This is a great base. It looks like it is well maintained. The morale is very high. People understand the mission. (They’re) excited about the mission. The quality of service, the people are top-notch and I think the leadership here is just top-notch.”
Natsuhara assumed his current position in July 2012. The principal deputy assistant secretary of the Navy serves as the principal advisor to the assistant secretary of the Navy and also serves as the senior Installations and Facilities program expert for Department of the Navy activities worldwide, according to the Department of the Navy’s website, www.secnav.navy.mil/eie/Pages/InstallationsFacilities.aspx.
PDASN participates in the formation and management of Navy and Marine Corps installation and environmental policies related to construction management; sustainment, restoration and modernization of facilities; military construction; acquisition, utilization and disposal of real property and facilities; real estate; bachelor and family housing; environmental protection, planning, restoration and natural resources conservation; and Safety and Occupational Health, the website states.
Natsuhara retired as a captain from the U.S. Navy’s Civil Engineer Corps after having served 25 years.
“I came out here to really listen and learn and to be your advocate,” he said. “That’s part of my job so when projects come up to Washington I understand what the base is doing, why they want it, why they think they need it.
“I think the base did a great job of really explaining their mission, why they are here, what they need to do, the projects they are doing and why they are doing (them),” Natushara continued.
Base officials conducted various sessions to inform Natsuhara about its mission, past and current energy projects, safety programs and facilities.
“The Honorable Ray Mabus, secretary of the Navy, established an energy goal of increasing alternative energy ashore by achieving net-zero energy use in 50 percent of Department of the Navy installations by 2020,” Fred Broome, director, I&E Div., MCLB Albany, said. “A NetZero installation is one that produces as much energy from renewable resources as it uses over the period of a given year, which equals to the installation’s energy demand.”
Broome noted that Natsuhara “visited Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany (June 25) to review a number of our local energy, installation and environment programs and initiatives to include our progress toward the NetZero goal.”
Natsuhara received briefings about the installation’s past projects such as the 1.9MW landfill gas-to-energy generator and current projects like a second landfill gas-to-energy generator that will add another 2.1MW to the base’s renewable portfolio. This contract has been awarded and is estimated to be complete later this year, Broome said.
Another current project he was briefed on replaces the existing chiller cooling and boiler heating systems in Building 3700 with a Geothermal Heat Pump, which includes next generation GHP architecture known as Borehole Thermal Energy Storage, Broome said, noting this project is awarded and is estimated to be completed in 2015.
A planned project for a 5-10MW steam-to-electric generator fueled by steam provided by the new high pressure steam biomass boiler being constructed by Procter & Gamble in support of their plant operations is estimated to be awarded in 2015 and completed in 2016, the I&E director added.
“These projects, along with the many other projects and energy conservation efforts that have been put in place since 2004, will bring MCLB Albany to NetZero status in 2016, four years ahead of the secretary of the Navy’s goal,” Broome said.
Following Natsuhara’s tour of the landfill gas-to-energy plant, he praised MCLB Albany for its accomplishments.
“We are actually very proud of all the hard work everyone here in Albany has done to first identify the resource and then really kind of weed through the process because it’s not an easy process,” he said. “It’s one of the first ones we’ve done. The whole contracting/legal side to push it through is really groundbreaking for the department, not only the Department of the Navy, but the whole Department of Defense and the federal government. We would like to do these things in more locations.”
Natsuhara extended more accolades for MCLB Albany’s geothermal project.
“(One) of the innovative things they are doing here, which I’m glad I came to see, (is) the geothermal project,” he said. “Talking with consultants, this technology is not only the first in the Department of Defense, (but) apparently the first in the United States, so that’s pretty impressive that (Marine Corps Logistics Base) Albany is going to have the first of this type of geothermal technology in the country and it sounds pretty interesting.”
Natushara concluded that “logistics and infrastructure are just critical. The warfighter is the guy at the tip of the spear and without the maintenance depot, without the base support people allowing everyone to do their jobs, the warfighter is ineffective. We are very proud of you because what you do here is critical, not only to the Marine Corps but to the nation as a whole. If (Marine Corps Logistics Base) Albany doesn’t do their job well, the Marines in harm’s way cannot do what they need to do safely and come home. What every American wants is our men and women (who) go overseas and protect us to come home safe and what Albany does is so critical to that. Keep doing what you are doing.”