BACKGROUND: The Energy Policy Act (EPAct) of 2005 specifies that the total amount of electricity consumed by the Federal Government during any year shall include a percentage of renewable energy. Starting in 2010 and through 2012, the Federal Government is expected to generate at least five percent of its electricity per year through renewable energy; and at least 7.5 percent in 2013 and thereafter. Executive Order (EO) 13423 outlines goals for Federal agencies to improve energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and increase reliance on renewable energy sources; and the Department of Defense (DoD) long range goals include reaching 25% renewable energy usage by 2025 at all DoD installations.
The purpose of this project is to create an efficient and technically feasible wind energy project to make Naval Station (NAVSTA) Newport more self sufficient and maximize the Navy’s ability to meet or exceed renewable power supply goals set forth in the laws and guidance stated above without incurring significant negative environmental impacts.
NAVSTA Newport is one of the largest electrical users in Rhode Island and the Navy spends more than $10 million annually just on this utility. The base load (i.e. the amount of electricity used when the installation is completely quiet; it represents the least amount of electricity the installation would require at any given moment in time) electric consumption at NAVSTA Newport is approximately 9 megawatts (MW). Current estimates show that the proposed wind turbine project could produce up to 9 MW of power, representing 26% of current annual electrical consumption. All electricity generated by the proposed project’s turbines will be consumed by NAVSTA and will not be sold commercially. Successful implementation of this project would allow NAVSTA Newport to rely less on commercially procured electricity as well as contribute to meeting the goals of the EPAct 2005 and EO 13423.
PROPOSED PROJECT: The Navy is proposing a wind energy project at NAVSTA to construct wind turbines and their support facilities. An Environmental Assessment (EA) has been underway to evaluate the suitability of placing turbines on several potential sites, and will identify combinations of turbine sizes and placements that could meet all selection criteria below:
· Turbines must be in an optimal location for wind.
· Turbines must comply with Federal Aviation Administration constraints on height.
· Construction and maintenance of turbines must be efficient and cost effective.
· Placement and size of turbines must not have a significant adverse impact on natural resources, cultural resources or protected species.
· Placement and size of turbines must not have a significant adverse impact on the human environment or socioeconomics of the region.
· Turbine sites must meet minimum soil surface and subsurface requirements that will support construction and operation of the turbines.
· Turbines must be able to generate up to 9MW of wind generated energy.
The proposed project would include the construction, operation, and maintenance of wind turbines and associated support facilities at ONE OR MORE of the 12 locations (shown in Figure 1-1 and described in Table 1-1) at NAVSTA that were identified in a pre-assessment.
In order to complete the EA, the Navy has had two public meetings (January 2011 and January 2013), prepared several studies, and engaged with State and Federal agencies to ensure that our selection criteria are appropriately addressed. These studies and outside agency correspondence are provided below.