Gitmo Base Goes Green to Save Money, Reduce Dependencies
In an effort to reduce its whopping $100,000 a day fossil fuel dependence, the U.S. Military is actively pursuing a greener day to day life at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba—the most expensive prison on earth. Today, solar-powered lights serve as sentries for U.S. Marines and teams of Navy cops now ride bikes instead of petroleum-fueled patrol cars.
As part of another sign of a Navy-wide goal to halve its dependence on fossil fuels by 2020, the greening of Gitmo is being employed despite initial challenges in doing so. Since the 1960s, the base has been making all of its own electricity and desalinating its own water, cut off from Cuba's water and power supply. That means that all supplies—from diesel fuel to spare parts—arrive by ship or aircraft, more than tripling the price of power.
"From my perspective certainly the greening of Gitmo is important," U.S. Navy Capt. Kirk Hibbert told McClatchy Newspapers. National security is paramount, he said, but the Navy mandate to curb consumption "has an effect on almost everything we do here."
On Hibbert's watch, a huge solar array behind a high school is soon to go up in addition to his push for the switch to bikes instead of driving air conditioned gas-guzzling patrol vehicles.
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The base at Gitmo gets a lot of attention for being so costly to run. To keep the lights on and water flowing to some 171 captives and 1,850 U.S. forces and contractors who work there, it costs an estimated $32,000 a day, or $11.7 million a year.
Among a few renewable energy installations, there has also been word that NASA scientists are exploring technologies that would allow for the growth of algae for biofuels at the base. It's also the first base to introduce a system of mock utility bills in an effort to shock sailors and their families into conserving more energy used at home. Those bills are usually about 3.5 times the price of an average U.S. household.
As researchers continue to develop more green technologies to use at Gitmo, these initial efforts symbolize a growing state of awareness of the need for conservation at the prison camp, and other bases for that matter.
bp buys 9GW of solar projects from 7X Energy for $220m
bp will pay 7X Energy $220 million for the projects and 1GW of 'safe harbour' equipment and expects the acquisition to complete in 30 days. The projects, spread across 12 states - with the largest portfolios in Texas (ERCOT) and MidWest (PJM) - are expected to meet bp’s low carbon investment criteria, generating returns of at least 8-10%.
Assets with a combined generating capacity of 2.2GW are expected to reach final investment decision (FID) by 2025, with the remaining progressing by 2030. Once developed, these projects will have the capacity to generate enough clean energy to power around 1.7 million US homes. The development is also expected to support thousands of jobs through construction.
The acquisition represents a significant step towards bp’s target of growing its net developed renewable generating capacity to 20GW by 2025 and aim to increase this to 50GW by 2030.
The deal will also grow bp’s renewables pipeline from 14GW to 23GW. The assets will be developed through bp’s 50-50 solar joint venture Lightsource bp, which will apply its capabilities to accelerate bp’s renewables targets.
Dev Sanyal, bp executive vice president of gas and low carbon energy, said: "With this purchase, we are continuing to put our strategy in action as we grow our renewables business in a deliberate and disciplined way. It brings us 9GW of high-quality solar projects in markets where we can create integrated renewable energy offers through our trading and customer franchises."
More than half of new US utility-scale solar PV capacity is planned for four states this year, with Texas comfortably the largest (28%), followed by Nevada (9%), California (9%), and North Carolina (7%), according to the US Energy Information Administration. Solar will account for 39% of all new US electricity generation capacity in 2021, surpassing wind for the first time, according to ResearchAndMarkets.com.