New technology at Fort Bliss aims to provide constant energy

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POSTED: Thursday, May 16, 2013 - 6:35pm

UPDATED: Thursday, May 16, 2013 - 8:22pm

Fort Bliss is hoping to lead the Army in energy efficiency. On Thursday they unveiled a multi-million dollar tool to help them achieve that goal.

Officials unveiled the first Department of Defense's microgrid. A piece of technology integrating renewable energy to create what officials call 'energy security.'

The new machine will also help them achieve 'net zero', officials say. Net Zero means producing as much energy as a facility uses. That's exactly what the microgrid is helping to achieve. It integrates solar, wind, and fuel energy to power up a facility.

"From the viewpoint of energy security, which is what this microgrid really provides us...it's the fact that we need energy security when we need it," BJ Tomlinson, the Renewable Energy and Sustainability Program Manager at Fort Bliss told us.

Energy security thanks to seamless power. The $2.4 million project is the first of its kind on any military installation in the United States.

"If we can save the 10 to 20 percent operational costs, the payback should be relatively short. It may take 15, 20 years, but it'll pay back," Tomlinson said.

But Fort Bliss officials say they are hoping the microgrid will pave the way to not only a self-sustained cafeteria, which the microgrid will be powering up, "Budget neutral is the buzzword. We want to be able to put projects in and have the projects paid for by the savings they accrue," Tomlinson said. They're also hoping to open their first net-zero neighborhood by 2014.

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