New wind turbines help Air Force go green

By on Monday, October 31st, 2011

Under Secretary of the Air Force Erin C. Conaton visited the Massachusetts Military Reservation in Cape Cod, Mass., Oct. 28 for a ribbon cutting ceremony for two new wind turbines.

The 1.5 megawatt wind turbines, in addition to an existing turbine, were built to offset electrical costs for powering numerous groundwater cleanup systems at the reservation.

The turbines will pay for all the Air Force’s electric needs for groundwater remediation at the military reservation, saving more than $1.5 million per year, officials said. The turbines will also offset emissions generated by fossil-fueled power plants, reducing the Air Force’s carbon footprint.

“The future is bright for environmental clean-up, renewable energy and energy conservation at the Massachusetts Military Reservation,” Conaton said. “As Air Force missions expand and change over time, we will be integrating the full spectrum of energy considerations into our facility design and construction projects and into our mission operations.”

As the Air Force under secretary, Conaton is responsible for ensuring the Air Force has what it needs to perform its missions in support of national security. Dependence on fossil fuels can be a liability in both supply and cost, generating the need to decrease demand and diversify supply sources. The wind turbine project is an example of an Air Force initiative to meet this need.

“The Air Force currently operates 85 on-base renewable energy projects at 43 installations, playing a significant role in the national strategy to establish greater energy security via conservation and alternative energy use,” Conaton said.

According to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports, the Air Force is the third largest purchaser of green power in the federal government.

“The Air Force values and respects the natural resources placed in our trust; this is the environment where we live, train and operate,” Conaton said. “Every Airman must protect and conserve these resources for the benefit of present and future mission requirements and for the benefit of present and future generations.”

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