US Army launches largest floating solar farm in Southeast


The US military has launched the largest floating solar farm in the southeast. It is also the first such project for the US Department of Defense.

The US Army’s New Floating Solar Farm

A ribbon cutting was held on June 10 for the Floating Solar, which sits on Big Muddy Lake at Camp Mackall in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Fort Bragg is the Army’s largest military installation by population, with approximately 49,000 military personnel, 11,000 civilian employees, and 23,000 family members. It is the home of the airborne forces and special operations.

The 1.1 megawatt (MW) floating solar farm includes 2 MW/2 megawatt hours of battery energy storage.

The floating solar farm is a collaboration between Fort Bragg, utility Duke Energy and Framingham, Massachusetts-based renewable energy company Ameresco. The U.S. Army announcement explains:

This energy services contract project will provide carbon-free on-site generation, supplement local grid power, and provide backup power to Camp Mackall during power outages.

The system also features an electronic recloser that detects and interrupts momentary faults.

Rachel Jacobson, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy, and the Environment, said:

This project fulfills the commitment made in our Army Climate Strategy to increase resilience while providing clean energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

When we work with local utilities and industry to promote energy resilience while powering the local grid, it’s a win-win solution on all counts.

Electrek’s Grasp

To quote Jacobson: The US military has a climate change strategy. The 20-page document can be accessed here.

The U.S. military aims to reduce emissions by 50% by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050. It also wants to “proactively consider the security implications of climate change in strategy, planning, acquisition, supply chain and programming documents and processes. ”

This is important because the US military is a major polluter. Since 2001, the military has produced more than 1.2 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases — more than entire countries like Denmark or Portugal. Additionally, the Department of Defense accounts for nearly 80 percent of the federal government’s fuel consumption, according to Neta C. Crawford, a professor of political science at Boston University.

The US military also officially recognizes that climate change is a real threat. The first line of its climate strategy states:

Climate change threatens US security and alters the geostrategic landscape
as we know it.

So it’s good news that such a major polluter recognizes its problem and takes action to address it.

It also demonstrates non-partisan action against climate change in a currently polarized country. Climate change deniers tend to attribute the renewable energy adoption movement to some kind of left-wing conspiracy. (Just read some of our comments on Facebook.)

So when someone starts screaming about the Liberal plot to install “useless solar” and bird-killing wind turbines, send them a link to the military’s climate strategy.

Read more: World’s Largest Floating Solar Farm Comes Online with Wind Turbine and Storage

Photo: US Army

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