Fort Benning leads the way for energy sustainability
By Lindsay Marchello, Bayonet & Saber /
FORT BENNING, Ga., (Oct. 12, 2016) — October is energy action month with a focus on energy conservation and responsible consumption by Soldiers, civilians and family members.
Executive Order 13693 proposes to cut the Federal Government’s greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent over the next decade. The executive order provides new energy goal reductions of 2.5 percent per year for FY 2016 through FY 2025.
Mark Fincher, the energy installation manager at Fort Benning, explained that the installation is on track to meet the FY 2025 energy reduction goal.
“When you work on goals that hit in 2020, if you don’t start now you won’t get there,” Fincher said. “We are on track for just about everything.”
Fincher explained that by 2025, 30 percent of the installation’s electrical energy should be renewable.
The 30 Mega-Watt solar array on post accounts for 16 percent of that goal.
“As we go forward, that percent will go higher,” Fincher said. “Two years ago we used 385 million kilowatt-hours, so when we start reducing by changing out lighting and doing changes to the heating and air-conditioning systems, that 385 million kilowatt-hours we use is going to go down as the years go by.
Even though the 64 MW that the plant will produce represents 16 percent today, even if we did nothing else but continued to work on the other aspects, that 16 percent will go up.”
Fincher explained that Fort Benning is planning to add more solar panels in the future, as well as obtaining more busses that use compressed natural gas.
Fincher emphasized that responsible energy consumption leads to a reduction in cost.
“There are multiple costs that you have for using energy,” Fincher said. “One of those costs is fiscal cost, so when we use less utilities then we pay less. Then that money is used for something else.”
Fincher explained that there are other savings regarding responsible energy consumption.
“The hidden savings are the reduction in the amount of greenhouse gases, because as time goes by the increased temperature of the atmosphere is going to cost us more and more money,” Fincher said. “At some point we will have to make a decision where we limit the amount of nonrenewable energies and price will probably drive that.”