Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island --
Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island took a major step towards energy independence after debuting its newest power plant during a ribbon cutting ceremony June 20, 2019.
Public Works Officer Navy Cmdr. Andy Litteral said the new plant took over a year to build, but the project was necessary as the Marine Corps relies on the constant flow of reliable energy to meet mission accomplishment.
“The construction of the power plant was about 18 months,” said Litteral. “One of the benefits of constructing this power plant is that the depot’s previous steam plant was built in 1941, so it was due for a replacement.”
The power plant is part of an Energy Savings Performance Contracting project that works toward achieving energy security and resilience for the depot. The project provides several on-site distributed sources of generation, coupled with battery storage and a smart utility grid that will reduce the number and duration of utility outages. The Department of Defense is the largest single energy consumer in the United States, spending approximately $4 billion a year on energy that powers its installations.
“It goes beyond just what you see with the power plant; there is also an array of solar panels,” said Litteral. “Also, the power plant has a battery energy storage system and a number of smaller features that add up to save an enormous amount of energy and water.”
The project also enables MCRD PI to continue operations while completely disconnected from the normal commercial utility grid. The DOD’s overall energy strategy emphasizes reducing energy costs and improving energy resilience for fixed installations.
“The biggest benefit for us, beyond the energy savings, is resiliency,” said Litteral. “We have the ability, if there is a natural disaster, to be able to produce our own power and be self-officiant. That’s really important because in an emergency the surrounding area may need to produce its own power and may not be able to take on our load.”
Litteral said the project is the latest example of how the Marine Corps is leading the way to improve mission readiness, reduce reliance on unpredictable energy resource and improve our stewardship of taxpayer’s dollars.
“There’s a special legislation called the ESPC that congress has authorized,” said Litteral. “It allows us to perform all of these improvements without a single taxpayer dollar being spent.”
MCRD PI Commanding General, Brig. Gen. James F. Glynn, said the new plant will give the depot the ability to always be mission ready and continue to make the world’s finest fighting force.
“This is replacing a 70 year old steam plant,” said Glynn. “With this new plant we have independence. If anything were to happen, like a hurricane or a flood, we can still continue to operate and more importantly make Marines.”