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US Army tests floating photo voltaic, US Navy floats climate action

It’s again to nature for the US Department of Defense. The US Army is stepping up its renewable power exercise with its first ever floating photo voltaic array, which could possibly be a mannequin for extra to return. Meanwhile, the Navy and Marine Corps simply pushed out a brand new climate action plan that emphasizes one thing referred to as “nature-based options.” What’s subsequent, wind-powered warships?

Floating Solar For The US Army

CleanTechnica first caught wind of the Army’s floating photo voltaic challenge again in 2020. The Department of Defense had been taking part in its renewable power initiatives quite near the vest throughout the Trump administration, however because the 2020 election cycle drew to a detailed it dropped phrase of plans to construct a new 1.1 megawatt PV array, to be floated atop Big Muddy Lake on the Camp Mackall coaching grounds in Fort Bragg, in North Carolina.

“The new floating photo voltaic panels are an attention-getter as a result of Fort Bragg occurs to be the most important navy facility on the planet,” we noticed. The present roster consists of 49,000 navy personnel together with 11,000 civilian workers and 23,000 members of the family.

Fort Bragg can also be of curiosity because the headquarters for the US Army Forces Command, the United States Army Special Operations Command, the Joint Special Operations Command, XVIII Airborne Corps,  the US Army Reserve Command headquarters, the Womack Army Medical Center, and the airlift level for Fort Bragg’s Global Response Force, amongst different operations.

Biggest Floating Solar Power Plant In The Southeast

Aside from being the Defense Department’s first foray into the floating photo voltaic discipline, the brand new solar energy plant can also be vital as a result of it’s the greatest photo voltaic set up of its form within the US southeast, a area through which some states lag far behind on renewable power improvement.

If the Big Muddy Lake array performs as anticipated it might set the stage for extra to return throughout the area, and we’re about to seek out out. Last week the US Army introduced completion of the brand new energy plant, which comes with a 2-megawatt battery-type power storage system.

“A collaboration between Fort Bragg, Duke Energy and Ameresco, this utility power service contract challenge will present carbon-free on-site technology, complement energy to the native grid, and supply backup energy for Camp Mackall throughout electrical energy outages,” the Army defined.

Piling On The Resiliency

On the subject of backup energy, one other attention-grabbing factor about this set up is a resiliency add-on within the type of an digital recloser, which is a form of amped-up model of a circuit breaker.

“Reclosers reply to transient occasions, like a tree limb brushing in opposition to an influence line, to shortly reset the system and restore energy,” the Army explains. “This know-how gives higher safety for system energy traces and minimizes harm to delicate digital tools within the occasion of energy interruption.”

The recloser was funded by means of the Environmental Security Technology Certification Program, a part of  a joint company comprised of the Defense Department, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Energy.

Solar Power & Land, Land, Land

So, right here’s the place issues get attention-grabbing. The US Department of Defense helped to push the early-adopter marketplace for utility-scale solar energy throughout the Obama administration. Now that the market is maturing, land use points have been effervescent up as farmland, forest, and different lands give technique to ranks of photo voltaic powers.

One would possibly assume that the Department of Defense is insulated from such controversies, however one can be mistaken. The company has put in loads of photo voltaic panels on land, however it might’t simply put them up willy-nilly. In addition, DOD has been engaged in land use battles of its personal for years, as a result of human populations are regularly encroaching on its huge coaching grounds.

One a part of the company’s land preservation technique is to catalogue native natural world on its grounds, to ascertain them as habitat-protected areas. That could seem considerably counterintuitive for workout routines that contain blowing issues up, however apparently there’s nonetheless loads of room to make the case for preserving pure habitats on Department of Defense grounds.

Fort Bragg is one such instance. Back in 2018, our associates over on the Fayetteville Observer catalogued a number of the uncommon species discovered at Fort Bragg together with the red-cockaded woodpecker, the invention of which in 1988 compelled Camp Mackall to chop again its coaching operations for a time till they might work out a coexistence plan.

“Thousands of acres of woodpecker habitat round submit have since been protected by means of public-private partnerships and, lately, officers have stated the inhabitants of red-cockaded woodpeckers has greater than doubled in contrast with the late Nineties,” the Observer reported.

US Navy Floats Nature-Based Solutions

Floating photo voltaic suits neatly into this slot as a result of it gives the DOD with new alternatives for finding new photo voltaic arrays at its amenities with out encroaching on pure habitats.

That brings us to the US Navy and Marine Corps, which can also be counting on nature for an help with its new Climate Action 2030 plan. In addition to a wholesome dose of renewable power and power effectivity investments, the plan consists of pure carbon sequestration and ecosystem restoration measures.

“Building on Executive Order 14072, Strengthening the Nation’s Forests, Communities and Local Economies, the DON will draw down a further 5 million metric tons of CO2e per 12 months by means of nature-based options by 2027, roughly the identical as eradicating a million automobiles off the street, on DON-managed lands or working with companions,” DON explains.

DON already has a head begin by means of its Climate Change Planning Handbook: Installation Adaptation and Resilience tips, which define wetlands and coastal ecosystem safety in addition to regenerative land administration. As with regenerative agriculture, that refers to practices that preserve and construct soil, and contribute to more healthy soil. Some features of the sphere are impressively easy they usually lower your expenses, too.

One instance cite by DON is Naval Air Station Patuxent River, which reduce on mowing and allowed a lot of the bottom to reforest.  As described in Climate Action 2030, the primarily based has saved greater than $400,000 yearly on upkeep whereas saving on emissions from mowing tools. Sequestering carbon dioxide, bettering species habitat, decreasing extra stormwater runoff, and bettering the standard of life for people on the facility are among the many different advantages.

“Keeping the grass close to the airfield taller additionally decreased hen strike danger, a major mission profit,” in addition they observe.

As for wind-powered warships, perhaps. During the Obama administration, the Navy pitched a low-emission Green Fleet with a heavy emphasis on biofuels and nuclear powerWind energy was additionally starting to bubble up again then, however it didn’t make an look within the Green Fleet.

More not too long ago, new wind-based maritime know-how has begun sprouting up within the type of inflexible sailskite-like sails, and rotor-type wind-powered gadgets that don’t look something like sails.

So far, a lot of the exercise has centered on the cargo ship space, so it’s potential that the commotion has crossed the Navy’s radar. If you might have any ideas about that, drop us a observe within the remark thread.

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