The Army’s largest and only hybrid renewable energy project is currently under construction for Fort Hood.
The project, which consists of a 15 megawatt solar energy field at Fort Hood and a 50 megawatt wind farm in Texas’ Floyd County, is expected to be complete in 2017.
“We’re expecting the construction to be completed by late spring,” said Brian Dosa, director of Fort Hood Public Works. “It will be fully operational; it will be online in providing renewable, cheap electricity to support Soldiers and Families at Fort Hood.”
Dosa was speaking about the solar panel arrays under construction on West Fort Hood - 65,000 solar panels, equivalent to 100 football fields with end zones,
The combined wind and solar hybrid project, a first for the Department of Defense, will produce enough energy to save Fort Hood $163 million in energy costs over the next few decades and brings the Army closer to the Department of Defense’s commitment to clean energy.
The energy produced by both solar and wind sites is expected to provide nearly half the total usage that Fort Hood requires.
The energy created in the West Texas wind project is put onto Texas’ ERCOT grid that currently powers approximately 85 percent of Texas. The energy is metered in and out, and sold to Fort Hood at a very reduced rate.
The combined wind and solar electricity costs are projected to wind up costing Fort Hood around 3.8 cents per kilowatt hour(kwh). That is compared to the current costs of 5.92 cents per kwh.
Fort Hood is actually not paying anything for the construction of the energy projects. An arrangement sees a private company, Apex Clean Energy, building the solar array and the wind turbines out in West Texas. They lease the land, both on Fort Hood from the Army, and from others out in West Texas, build the infrastructure, own it, operate it and then sell the electricity back to Fort Hood over the course of 30 years.
While the renewable energy projects are environmentally friendly, Fort Hood’s Dept. of Public Works says the overall goal was to save taxpayers money and invest the savings for other needs on Fort Hood.