On January 1, 2003, Dyess Air Force Base (AFB), Texas, became the largest consumer of renewable electricity at a single site in the nation. The supply contract issued by the Defense Energy Support Center (DESC) provides 100 percent wind-generated electricity making all of the base's electrical power pollution free. The Dyess purchase will result in approximately 80 million kilowatthours of wind energy generated annually, enough electricity to power an estimated 8,000 homes for a year.
Renewable Energy Power Plant
WOW Energy, Inc. and Siemens Building Technologies, Inc. will supply a WOWGen renewable energy power plant to produce 6 megawatts (MW) of electrical power for the Dyess Air Force Base (AFB) in Abilene, Texas. The WOWGen power plant will be an integral part of Siemens' $39 million dollar contract with Dyess AFB to provide electricity from a waste-to-energy plant through gasification of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW).
"We intend to build on the Air Force's leadership so that we can proliferate and accelerate uses of these clean renewable and energy efficient technologies across the nation."
-- Alexander Karsner, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Energy
The WOWGen power plant converts heat into electricity using WOW Energies' patented combined cycle turbo-expander Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) system. The power plant will convert the heat exiting the gasifier, to electricity, to create useful energy from MSW collected from the Dyess AFB and the City of Abilene. When complete, the AFB will be able to remove itself from the off-base electrical grid and still maintain 100% operations.
"For the first time, industry has a viable technology to efficiently and economically convert low, medium and high temperature heat sources into usable electricity while dramatically reducing emissions and greenhouse gases (GHG). The positive impact of this technology on reducing fossil fuel consumption and GHG is enormous," stated SDaniel Stinger, Chairman of WOW Energies, which is working with numerous companies to produce power from the recovery of waste heat or heat available from renewable energy sources such as solar, geothermal and biomass fuels.
The Dyess AFB is a leader in integrating energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies into daily operations. In a visit to Dyess AFB in August this year, Alexander Karsner, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Energy stated: "We intend to build on the Air Force's leadership so that we can proliferate and accelerate uses of these clean renewable and energy efficient technologies across the nation."
The agreement makes the base the largest single institution in the United States to become fully powered by the wind. Because of the base's size–about 4 million square feet–and its yearly power consumption, the purchase represents more than 20 percent of the Federal government's procurement of renewable power. This single wind power procurement allows the entire Air Force Air Combat Command, 19 bases in all, to fulfill Executive Order 13123, which requires Federal agencies to use the equivalent of 2.5 percent of electricity from new renewable energy sources by FY 2005 and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2010.
The wind energy will be supplied by Texas-based TXU Energy through a 2-year, $1.5 million conversion of the existing contract to 100 percent renewable energy. Dyess is offsetting the extra cost of the wind power with savings realized in the state's competitive retail electricity market. The wind power provided by TXU Energy will be in addition to any wind power purchased by TXU as a result of state renewable portfolio standards. DESC conducted the original electricity solicitation about a year ago, and assisted with the contract modification. The base will receive electricity from six wind farms throughout Texas, including the Trent Mesa Wind Project, 25 miles west of Dyess.
"The benefits are far reaching," Tom Denslow, Dyess AFB's energy manager. "We have eliminated emissions of all pollutants from conventional electricity–negating the production of more than 105 tons of nitrogen oxide, 152 tons of sulfur dioxide, and 58,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year. Further, it sets Dyess in front of all the rest of the Federal government and sets the bar for the rest to follow. "Through the purchase, Dyess demonstrates Federal leadership by example by supporting the President's National Energy Policy goals for increasing America's use of clean renewable energy, promoting energy security through the development of new domestic energy sources, and supporting the President's call for voluntary reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
Dyess also became the first Air Force Base to join the Environmental Protection Agency's Green Power Partnership, a voluntary program that assists organizations procuring renewable power. The base is the largest site in the partnership to make a 100 percent commitment to renewable energy. Over the last several years, Dyess has been a recipient of the Federal Energy and Water Management Awards for its dedication to the use of energy-efficient lighting and heating systems and water-conservation technologies.