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MCLB Albany: Blazing the trail toward Net Zero

By Verda L. Parker | Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany | February 10, 2015


Although Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany is currently undergoing several multi-million dollar projects, which are geared toward constructing, improving and/or renovating existing facilities, achieving Net Zero energy status continues to be near the top of officials’ list of primary goals and accomplishments.

In his All Marine Corps Activities message, dated April 5, 2011, Gen. James F. Amos, then-commandant of the Marine Corps, issued a directive, which projected that 50 percent of the Marine Corps' bases and stations would be Net Zero energy consumers by 2020.

That achievement may be closer to a reality than projected, according to Lt. Cmdr. Dennis J. Riordan, public works officer, Installation and Environmental Branch, MCLB Albany.

Riordan, his team of engineers and facility planners predict the base could quite possibly reach its alternative energy independence by 2017, three years prior to the 2020 targeted deadline.

Base officials are expecting to achieve Net Zero energy status with the recent installation of its second landfill gas generator, as well as harnessing reusable energy produced by its proposed biomass generator and geothermal heat pump projects, which are also underway.

"We are currently negotiating with Energy Services Group, (which) runs the first generator," Riordan said. "We also want them to run the second one. When that's complete, they will run both generators, which will give us a total of four megawatts (of energy), if they're run simultaneously."

Riordan further pointed out, after meeting the negotiated rate to be paid to ESG, excess monies the base saved on energy costs has recorded a sizable savings to American taxpayers.

"Any money above and beyond (that’s due to ESG) is used to pay our utility bills or is placed back into our budget for facility maintenance," he added. "Last year, we (averaged) about $300,000 extra that taxpayers didn't have to come up with, which came from ESG and our savings."

A new biomass generator is another of the installation's expected energy producing resources, which Riordan discussed.

"The biomass project has been fully approved by the DOD and we're moving forward with it," Riordan continued. "Right now it is in the feasibility phase. We are currently waiting for a proposal from a contractor. If it is feasible and everyone agrees, we will move forward into actually awarding the contract. That (unit) is going to run off of steam from an existing generator over at P&G."

Three additional top-dollar projects Riordan highlighted are the $20 million water line project currently underway; the recently awarded $10 million natural gas line replacement and the $16 million weapons storage military construction.

Roderick Barrett, facility planner/supervisor, I&E Branch, MCLB Albany, commented on several other capital improvement projects, which are scheduled to be ongoing around the base over the next several years.

"We have a total of 18 projects that we are submitting for validation for (fiscal year) 2017," Barrett said. "The Facilities Sustainment, Restoration and Modernization Program is used to complete routine maintenance, major repairs, minor construction as well as demolition projects for our facilities."

According to Barrett, the validation list, totaling $15 million, is to be allocated for infrastructure repairs ranging from warehouse roof overhangs, repaving some of the base's roadways to demolition of one bridge, which is no longer structurally sound.

Another of the construction projects underway is the consolidated emergency response system site. The CERS is a communication system, which will be used by the installation's first responders.