GROTON, Conn. – Leadership from NORESCO of Westborough, Massachusetts and Shelton, Conn.; the Connecticut Office of Military Affairs; and Naval Submarine Base New London (SUBASE), marked the commencement of the Navy’s and NORESCO’s Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC) initiative with a small, physically-distanced, ceremonial groundbreaking near the base Power Plant, June 26.
The key energy conservation measure of the $83.1 million contract will be a 10.75-MW Combined Heat and Power System or CHP to be installed in the base Power Plant. Additionally, the contract will ready the base for a new cyber-secure, micro-grid: automating electrical power load management and ensuring power to mission-critical operations in the event of a community utility grid disruption. Furthermore, the project will also increase energy efficiency throughout many base systems, which is anticipated to achieve some $10 million, on average, in annual energy savings.
Capt. Todd Moore, SUBASE New London Commanding Officer, highlighted how the initiative assures continuation of the base’s mission and complements the Navy’s overall energy strategy.
“Since SUBASE’s establishment as our Nation’s first permanent, continental Submarine base in 1916, our mission has been simple and straight forward: to deploy combat-ready submarines and crews, and to train a corps of professional submariners,” said Moore. “Critical to ensuring SUBASE’s mission success is energy… energy security, energy efficiency, energy resiliency, and energy reliability.”
Energy expenses are the single largest cost for Navy installations, reflecting about 28 percent of Navy's shore budget. Cost savings created ashore free up dollars that can be used in the fleet to support operations and improve the tactical performance of forces.
Moore outlined that the Navy has invested more than $50 million in recent electrical and steam generation and distribution system improvements at SUBASE, with some $12 million in energy conservation projects undertaken in the past seven years alone.
Such past investments along with this current initiative are actions welcomed by the state of Connecticut according Bob Ross, executive director of the State of Connecticut Office of Military Affairs.
“It was on this lawn, right there, on September 24, 2009, that the state made its very first investment in the infrastructure of this base,” said Ross at the event, pointing to a location a few yards away.
That state investment, and ongoing state investments, complement Navy investments in the base and its mission and reflect Connecticut’s recognition of the importance of the base to the state, noted Ross.
“We want this base to be in every way better than it was. We’ve already invested about 28 million dollars. It’s a partnership unlike any other in the Navy, and we were the first ones to figure out how to do this,” said Ross.
One way both the Navy and the state believe the SUBASE can be better is through a micro-grid that assures homeported submarines, and other critical base loads and functions, of energy reliability.
“A SUBASE micro-grid will transform our existing electrical system into a more intelligent, flexible, and robust system,” said Moore. “Through such a micro-grid, SUBASE will benefit …from the ability to seamlessly disconnect from the utility grid and efficiently dispatch power generation.”
NORESCO President Neil Petchers emphasized that the ESPC project “will be a key component in securing reliable, resilient, and efficient power” and integrating it into “a cyber-secure, base-wide, micro-grid.”
Petchers also commended the broad Navy, State, local, and commercial teamwork involved with the initiative, as ESPC includes 18 years of ongoing operations, maintenance, repair, and replacement services.
“It’s tough when you have a lot of cooks in the kitchen, however well-intentioned all the cooks are, to get everyone on the same page,” said Petchers. “Once that happened, things have been very smooth. The lines of communication have been great.”
A small number of representatives from all involved in the ESPC attended the physically distanced event, applauding as Moore, Ross, Petchers, and City of Groton Mayor Keith Hedrick, Chair of the Groton Utilities Commission, took up shovels and ceremonially “broke ground” commencing the new initiative.
“NORESCO is extremely honored and proud to be working with the Navy on this critical energy infrastructure project,” concluded Petchers. “We recognize your critical national security mission and thank SUBASE’s Sailors for selflessly serving in our Nation’s Silent Service.”
“Some SUBASE Good News” (SSGN) is an effort to provide uplifting stories about the personnel, programs, and initiatives that help make Naval Submarine Base New London, “The First and Finest.”