The announcement follows a competitive bid process opened in March by the U.S. Army’s Senior Energy Council, a body created in October 2008 to accelerate and oversee a sustainable energy strategy aimed at finding alternative energy sources, obtaining increased energy savings and securing energy supplies for U.S. Army installations, personnel, vehicles and other assets.
A federal mandate requires the U.S. Army to reduce its energy consumption by 30 percent by 2015 (compared to 2003) and to cover 25 percent of its energy needs with renewable energies by 2025.
The Fort Irwin project is part of the Army’s "Enhanced Use Leasing" (EUL) program, designed to allow private sector entities "to acquire and leverage value from under-utilized non-excess real estate assets on Army and select Department of Defense Installations."
The Defense Department’s largest-ever solar energy project
ACCIONA Solar Power and Clark Energy Group’s joint project will develop approximately 500 MW of solar power, a figure that could be increased to 1,000 MW at a later stage. The project will involve concentrating solar power (CSP) and photovoltaic technology and is the U.S. Department of Defense’s largest-ever solar project. To date, the 14 MW solar plant at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, and the 2 MW installation at Fort Carson, Colorado, are the Department of Defense’s largest solar power generating plants.
The facilities will be installed at five sites – a total of 21 square miles – following selection for suitability by Army technicians.
The project is at an initial stage and studies are being carried out to identify the most suitable and efficient technological solutions. Construction will take place over a relatively long period of time and will be staggered in several phases: by 2014, the first site development should be sufficiently advanced to cover Fort Irwin’s total energy needs.
"To be selected for this project is an indication of the trust that one of the world’s most technologically advanced organizations places in ACCIONA’s ability to develop renewable projects. It also confirms our position as an active player in the U.S. clean energies market," said Alberto de Miguel, development director, ACCIONA Energy.
"The Fort Irwin solar power project is an example of how the U.S. Army can lead the nation forward towards a future of energy security," said Kevin Geiss, energy security program director, U.S. Army.
"Fort Irwin is proud to host this groundbreaking effort by the Department of the Army in partnership with Clark and ACCIONA Solar Power," said Colonel Jim Chevalier, garrison commander, Fort Irwin. "The plant is the largest solar project in the state and it illustrates the commitment of Fort Irwin and the Army to incorporate environmental stewardship at all levels of operations."
"Quite frankly, the Department of Defense was a little bit late coming to the topic of efficiency and renewables, but now it’s at the forefront," said Richard Kidd, a high-ranking official at the U.S. Department of Energy, in a recent statement to The New York Times.
The Nevada Solar One experience
Fort Irwin is located in the Mojave Desert, one of the areas with the most hours of sunlight in the whole of the U.S., making the base an ideal site for solar generating technology. The complex stands midway between Los Angeles and Las Vegas at a location similar to the site of the 64 MW Nevada Solar One concentrating solar power (CSP) facility, installed by ACCIONA Solar Power 82 miles southeast of Las Vegas. Nevada Solar One was grid-connected in June 2007.
In accordance with EUL requirements, the project will be financed and developed by both companies – costs are expected to come to approximately $2 billion – who will deliver services in kind (e.g., operation and maintenance) in exchange for the lease of military land holdings. Any excess electricity produced can be sold to the grid via two high-power transmission lines in the vicinity of Fort Irwin.
The new 500 MW solar facilities are expected to produce approximately 1,000 GWh annually, far exceeding Fort Irwin’s 35 MW peak load. The project will target the sale of generated energy that is not used by the Fort Irwin complex to regional public utilities.
A key market for ACCIONA
The U.S. is a priority market for ACCIONA: the Company operates here with wind power and CSP facilities and is seeking to enhance its presence by taking part in the Obama Administration’s push for renewable energies.
ACCIONA has installed 490 MW of wind power across five wind parks in North Dakota, South Dakota, Illinois and Oklahoma and has projects under development in 15 other states.
The Group also owns a wind turbine manufacturing plant in Iowa and a Nevada Solar One, a 64 MW CSP plant in Nevada, and has plans to develop additional solar projects in states across the Southwest.
Fort Irwin is a large U.S. military complex located in the Mojave Desert, halfway between Los Angeles (245 km to the southwest) and Las Vegas (290 km to the northeast).
The base sprawls over 4,000 square meters and is home to the U.S. Army’s largest training camp (5,000 recruits from all over the country arrive there every month) and NASA’s Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex, commonly called the Goldstone Observatory, whose colossal antennas are used for space mission communications. The most important antenna has a diameter of 70 meters and is able to establish and maintain contact with the most far-flung man-made object to date: the Voyager Mars Program probe, 16,000 kilometers away from Earth.
These features make Fort Irwin a town of 23,000 inhabitants made up of military personnel and civilians and their respective families. The base has hangars and barracks, but also residential housing, elementary and high schools, health centers, movie theatres, museums, churches, restaurants and many of the other amenities usually available in large communities.
ACCIONA is one of Spain’s leading business corporations. The Company operates in infrastructure, energy, water treatment and services in more than thirty countries. Its corporate motto, "Pioneers in Sustainable Development," reflects the Company’s commitment to contributing to economic growth, social progress and environmental balance. ACCIONA is sector leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, and posted revenues of â‚¬12.67 billion in 2008. The Company has a workforce of 35,000 and is quoted on the IBEX 35 blue chip index (ANA.MC).
ACCIONA Solar Power is revolutionizing the development, construction, and operation of concentrating solar power (CSP) plants. ACCIONA Solar Power is a majority-owned affiliate of ACCIONA Energy North America Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of ACCIONA Energy, a division of the international company ACCIONA SA, headquartered in Madrid, Spain. In 2005, ACCIONA Energy purchased a 55 percent stake in Solargenix and the joint venture became ACCIONA Solar Power in 2006. It designs, develops and operates large-scale concentrating solar power plants, including the largest concentrating solar power plant to be completed in the world since 1991, Nevada Solar One (64 MW) in Boulder City, Nevada. For more information, visit www.acciona.com.
ACCIONA Energy is a leading player in the field of renewable energies. It has installed more than 8,400 MW of different technologies – wind power, hydroelectric, solar and biomass – for itself or for clients. In solar power, ACCIONA Energy has installed in Nevada (US) the largest CSP plant built anywhere in the world in the last eighteen years. The Company recently completed construction of its first plant in Spain and has several facilities at varying stages of construction and development. With regard to solar photovoltaic power, ACCIONA Energy has installed 115 MWp, including a 46 MW plant, the largest of its kind in the world, located in Portugal. The Company also manufactures wind turbines produced with in-house technology, as well as producing biodiesel and bioethanol. ACCIONA Energy delivers services to clients interested in renewables projects.
Clark Energy Group LLC provides full-service energy solutions for public and private sector organizations with a focus on energy efficiency and renewable energy development. Clark was recently awarded a $5 billion Super Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC) by the Department of Energy. Clark Energy Group is affiliated with Clark Realty Capital and the Clark Construction Group. For more information, visit www.clarkenergygroup.com.