The Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany's (MCLB Albany's) highly efficient 1.9 MW combined heat and power (CHP) system utilizes landfill gas to supply electricity to the base and steam to a factory employing 2,000 personnel to repair and rebuild ground combat and ground combat support equipment. This system is central to the base's commitment to achieve energy efficiency and pollution reduction goals, while supporting the U.S. Marine Corps' operational capabilities and saving approximately $1.3 million per year in energy costs.
Installed in 2011, the CHP system has helped the base meet federal energy reduction, renewable energy consumption, and greenhouse (GHG) emission reduction mandates. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 requires that at least 7.5 percent of the total annual electricity used by the federal government come from renewable energy sources, beginning in FY 2013. Executive Order (EO) 13423 and the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act require federal agencies to reduce the energy intensity of their buildings by 30 percent by FY 2015. And in response to EO 13514, which directed federal agencies to establish GHG emission reduction targets, the Department of Defense set an ambitious goal to reduce its emissions by 34 percent by FY 2020. According to MCLB Albany, the CHP system is fundamental to the base's progress towards exceeding these goals and has put the base on track to becoming the Department of the Navy's first net-zero facility.
By using less fuel than conventional electricity and steam sources, and by using landfill gas that would otherwise be combusted unproductively ("flared"), the system avoids an estimated 9,300 metric tons per year carbon pollution, equal to that from the electricity used by more than 1,200 homes.
By recovering otherwise-wasted heat from the engine exhaust, the CHP system also produces steam used by a 2,000-employee re-manufacturing plant where Marine Corps ground combat and combat support equipment is repaired and rebuilt. The CHP system also provides MCLB Albany with enhanced power reliability benefits. In the event of a grid power outage, the CHP system is capable of starting up and operating independently of the electric grid. In addition, in the case of a disruption in the landfill gas supply, the CHP system can quickly switch to natural gas.
The nearby Dougherty County Landfill is the source for the landfill gas that powers the CHP system's internal combustion engine (manufactured by GE's Jenbacher) which generates up to 20% of the base's electric demand. MCLB Albany partnered with Chevron Energy Solutions to develop the CHP system.
According to EPA's Landfill Methane Outreach Program, among the 2,430 currently open or recently closed landfills in the United States, approximately 450 are candidates for energy production with a potential capacity of 850 MW. Of those, more than 20 landfills are promising candidates for supporting CHP systems at federal facilities.
The CHP system is an excellent example of how federal agencies can use Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPCs) to partner with energy service companies (ESCOs) to accomplish energy savings projects without up-front capital costs. Through ESPCs, the ESCO typically pays all costs involved in installing energy-efficient equipment. The energy upgrades are paid for by a portion of the cost savings resulting from these improvements over a set term. At the end of the ESPC, the customer owns all of the improvements and receives all of the continuing savings.