Edwards saves bucks by going green

  • Published
  • By Enrique Torres
  • 95th Civil Engineering and Transportation Directorate
Similar to Edwards' aviation history, we have now begun new mission of utility conservation and energy management for the Air Force. 

In September during an Air Force-sponsored Enhanced Use Lease Industry Day, Col. Bryan Gallagher, 95th Air Base Wing commander, challenged private developers to "bring it on" when he offered 3,000 acres on Edwards for the development of a new solar power plant. 

A team has been formed and is scheduled to meet this month to define requirements for potential developers. 

In August, Edwards started using its supervisory control and data acquisition system to meet load-shedding requirements of a local utility company during demand bidding, resulting in nearly $20,000 of savings without impacting the base's mission. This provided the system capabilities for the demand-bidding project that will show larger savings in the future. 

Earlier this year, Edwards selected Trane Inc. as the energy services company that will perform an initial proposal and determine the feasibility of Energy Savings Performance Contract on base. 

Under the ESPC, the company pays all up-front costs, identifies facility and equipment energy savings potential. They then acquire, install, operate and maintain the equipment. 

The ESPC projects must be funded solely from the savings generated from the reduced energy costs. 

Trane has identified 18 energy conservation measures such as geothermal heat pumps, thermal storage, aquifer injection and solar that has an estimated annual utility savings of $3.4 million. 

Over a 19-year performance period, Edwards can pay back nearly $60 million worth of energy conservation measures. This will align its infrastructure to meet the requirements of the base mission while leveling the long-term energy needs. 

This project and other energy-saving measures will ensure Edwards becomes a leader in power conservation in the future.