Navy makes largest ever federal renewable purchase

Source: Ariel Wittenberg, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, August 17, 2015

The Navy will set the record next week for the largest renewable energy purchase by a federal entity.

The service is entering into a solar power purchase agreement with the Western Area Power Administration and Sempra U.S. Gas & Power LLC to buy 210 megawatts of solar power from an array in Arizona.

The agreement is expected to supply one-third of the power used by the 14 Navy and Marine Corps installations in California.

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus will celebrate the agreement in a signing ceremony Thursday with representatives from the power administration and Sempra at Naval Base Coronado, Calif.

Mabus has been a champion of renewable energy since being appointed secretary of the Navy in 2009 (Greenwire, July 16, 2012). And he has attracted attention for his plan to power the Navy’s fleet with biofuels by 2016 (Greenwire, July 19, 2012).

The Navy is already well ahead of schedule to meet its goal of producing half its energy from renewable sources by 2020. In June, Mabus said he planned to continue the switch to renewable energy when he announced the service’s first urban solar installation planned at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling (Greenwire, June 10).

“Power can be used as a weapon; energy can be used as a weapon,” he said at the time. “I don’t want that weapon to be used against us. It is a national security issue.”