U.S. Navy's Renewable Energy Program
Having secure, reliable energy is critical to the Department of the Navy, as energy is vital to defense operations and national security. The Navy established the Renewable Energy Program Office (REPO) in 2014 to advance the integration of renewable energy into the electrical grid that serves naval installations, and set an ambitious goal to reach 1 gigawatt (GW) capacity by the end of 2015.
11 EAs in One Year
E & E was enlisted to complete NEPA-compliant environmental assessments (EAs) for solar development at 11 naval installations to enable renewable energy procurement before investment tax credits for private developers expired. A typical EA takes 12 to 18 months. Our challenge was to complete 11 complicated EAs within one year, including fieldwork and agency consultation regarding wetlands, protected species, and cultural resources.
Build the Right Leadership Team
E & E’s commitment to internal collaboration allowed us to pull together a leadership team that quickly and effectively mobilized the 70 full-time staff necessary to work on 11 EAs, 6 cultural resource surveys, 6 biological assessments, 3 threatened and endangered species surveys, and 5 wetland delineations simultaneously. We identified 11 regional managers well-seasoned in Navy task orders who understood Navy preference and process and could immediately get the EAs and fieldwork moving.
We also employed the expertise of our renewable energy development manager, who applied lessons learned from both commercial and government development across the country to guide evaluation of the impacts of solar development on natural resources.
Improved Energy Security
Our all-hands-on-deck approach contributed toward over 400 megawatts of the 1 GW goal, and the Navy reached 1.1 GW capacity by the end of 2015. By diversifying their energy portfolio, the Navy has improved energy security, operational capability, strategic flexibility, and resource availability.
Building on our success, the Navy enlisted E & E to complete an additional eight EAs in 2016, including six more solar and two wind development projects at both on- and off-base locations to supply the Navy with additional renewable energy at its installations.
"Just wanted to relay the outstanding work that E & E continues to do supporting the Southeast REPO projects. We've had some 11th hour questions, document changes, etc., for Gulfport, Holley, and Saufley; and the E & E team has responded with exceptional speed and quality."
– Taura Huxley-Nelson, NAVFAC Southeast, NAS Jacksonville –
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