Norfolk Naval’s Investment in “Energy Security”

How can a North Carolina solar farm contribute to energy security and resiliency of the Norfolk Naval Station?
How can a North Carolina solar farm contribute to energy security and resiliency of the Norfolk Naval Station? GAO has the same questions I do. Photo credit: Virginian-Pilot.

Let me set the scene for this post. A year ago I wrote about Naval Station Norfolk’s deal to purchase enough solar electricity through Dominion Virginia Power to meet 6% of its electricity needs over the next ten years. The transaction advanced the U.S. Navy’s goal of deriving at least 50% of shore-based energy from alternative sources by 2020. The terms of the deal were murky, however, and I could not elicit from the Navy what it was paying for the electricity other than a vague statement that the tariff was “consistent with the current rate structure.”

The Navy justifies the move to renewable energy nationally on the grounds that it “promotes more secure and resilient installation operations.” However, the solar farm is not located on the Naval base. Developed by a third party enterprise, Invenergy, and acquired by Dominion in order to fulfill the Navy’s needs, the 20-megawatt facility lies far to the south in Morgans Corner, N.C.

How did buying solar energy from North Carolina, as opposed to building the facility on the base itself, promote the security and resiliency of Naval Station Norfolk? If Dominion’s electric grid went down in a hurricane, cyber-attack, act of war, or whatever, the solar electricity generated at Morgans Corner could not miraculously leap over 30 or 40 miles of swamp and farmland to Norfolk. The Navy’s non-responsive response to my question: “Signing long-term contracts for renewable energy helps to increase the DON’s energy security by providing long-term cost stability and diversifying our resources.”

The Navy roped Dominion and Invenergy into the deal because it needed private-sector partners to utilize the state and federal tax credits that would bring down the cost of the project to the Navy (even though it transferred costs to the treasuries of the United States and North Carolina.) It seemed obvious to me that the deal was designed to meet the Obama administration’s renewable energy goals, not to create a secure energy source for the Navy base — at least not secure in any military sense.

Nothing came of my article. No one else seemed to care.

Then, in September 2016, the federal Government Accounting Office (GAO), published a study, “DOD Renewable Energy Projects,” of which I have only now become aware. That report examined 17 Department of Defense renewable-energy projects. Unfortunately, Naval Station Norfolk was not one of them. But I am not the only one, it turns out, who wonders if the renewable projects contribute anything to military base energy security.

While some of the renewable projects advanced DoD’s energy goals, states the report, “project documentation was not always clear about how each  project was expected to … advance the department’s energy security objective or estimate the value of energy security provided.”

We found that only 2 of the projects were specifically designed to provide power to the installations in the event of a disruption to the commercial grid without additional investments. DOD officials told us that they believed all 17 of the projects in our sample provided an energy security benefit because the officials defined energy security broadly to encompass the diversification of fuel sources, among other things.

Dominion is a secure and reliable provider of electricity under normal circumstances, so DoD clearly was looking for something more. Arguably, the solar deal allows the naval station to lock in stable rates for the next 25 years or so (however long the solar panels last). But that’s budgetary security — not the kind of security that would allow the naval station to continue functioning in a national emergency when the grid goes down.

In theory, a solar facility feeding into a microgrid could seal itself off from the troubles in the larger grid. But only two military facilities appeared to have followed that path. One likely reason is that solar panels take up a lot of room. To supply Naval Station Norfolk would require thousands of panels on hundreds of acres of land, and the naval base does not have hundreds of acres available. By necessity, utility-scale solar projects are located in the boonies — away from military facilities.

Bacon’s bottom line: Relying upon solar energy to create a secure electricity supply for a military base is, except in rare cases, a hopeless task. That’s not to say that the policy was a bad one. One can come up with all sorts of reasons to install more solar capacity. They just aren’t the reasons the U.S. Navy gave us.

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25 responses to “Norfolk Naval’s Investment in “Energy Security””

  1. When you first wrote about this, one comment was, “If the goal is to make the naval station more secure and resilient, the logical action would have been to put the solar facility either on base or very nearby, and then to create a micro-grid that could operate on its own in the event of a disruption to the larger electric grid. Signing a deal with a facility that would have been built in North Carolina anyway does nothing to advance that goal.” Apparently nothing has changed.

    But then, we must remember the military rationalizations and euphemisms surrounding Dwight Eisenhower’s “National Defense Highway Act” that funded what we now call the interstate highway system. I remember, at first, they had signs along all those new roads instructing drivers to pull aside for military convoys! Who were we kidding? But it was that sort of packaging that got the Act passed by that 1950s Congress. Is it any different to pretend, today, that electric reliability is enhanced when more solar generation is built miles away on the grid? Grid efficiency and cost, reduced emissions, cheaper solar through economies of scale, all yes — but reliability of supply, no, not for the grid, and certainly not for the Norfolk Navy Base.

    1. One thing I didn’t consider when I first wrote was the space issue — that there isn’t enough room in the Norfolk Naval base to put the solar panels. I’m thinking that was never an option, even a theoretical one. Therefore, the Navy had no choice but to put its solar facilities off-site. But, as you observe, that undermines a primary justification for it.

      1. The GAO report you linked to, notes very clearly that there are separate statutory imperatives behind “DOD’s renewable energy goals” and DOD’s “energy security objective.” The problem seems to be that the Navy (and other federal agencies) conflated these requirements and tried to satisfy them both with the single Morgan’s Corner deal.

  2. LarrytheG Avatar

    well you once again tarred the Obama Administration when the report says this:

    “For over a decade, the federal government has encouraged the
    development of renewable energy by providing financial support for the
    research, development, and deployment of renewable energy projects,
    among other things. As part of these efforts, it has established a variety of
    goals for federal departments and agencies. In particular, the Energy
    Policy Act of 2005,2 as well as other federal laws and executive orders,
    set goals that apply to DOD’s production and consumption of renewable
    energy, including from sources on DOD installations.”

    DOD has been on this track for quite some time.. it’s not an initiative of Obama.

    I’m also questioning the premise that they had no room for solar. There are a ton of large buildings on that base and I’ve seen solar installed at other Navy bases on building so I know that’s an option. I also see Craney Island nearby.

    I suspect that the Navy had a budget – but they could not get the credits but a 3rd part could -in effect allowing the Navy to leverage their budget dollars bu then the fly in that ointment was that 3rd party can’t usually own equipment that is on a Federal installation..

    I don’t know the ins and outs and not inclined to dig but if the Navy could reduce their electricity costs with solar that may have been an acceptable alternative to stand-alone – given the shortage of land.

    Govt rules for these kinds of things – seldom make sense to ordinary folks just like any large bureaucracy ..

    The other thing I noticed on Navy Bases is a LOT of backup generators.. BIG backup generators.. and very large diesel tanks.. enough for them to go weeks.

    but again – a LOT of this stuff pre-dated the Obama Administration and folks keep blaming this on him .. and I suspect that all he did was let whatever was already approved in the prior administration go forward.

    why we have to continually politicize these things shows me the just to
    what extremes people are willing to go out of their way to do it these days.

    we’ll never find any kind of middle ground if this is what we do now…

  3. “I also see Craney Island nearby.”

    You can build a lot of solar panels on Craney Island. Then all you have to do is build a transmission line across the James River to connect to the port. Good luck with that!

  4. LarrytheG Avatar

    there actually is a lot of land on the base itself.. take a look… see that parking lot?

    quite a few other parking lots and roads.. and runway borders.

    makes you wonder why they could not do something on base.

    all the runoff from those lots could be fixed also.

    1. Look at all those flat rooftops! A perfect setup for solar, if in fact they had any incentive to place solar collectors there. But it’s less hassle to have Dominion take care of it anyplace else than within the Base security perimeter — North Carolina maybe?

  5. LarrytheG Avatar

    here’s another view:

    this is starting to look like whoever the base commander was – just wanted to get this mandate out of his hair and off the base!


  6. Beats the hell out of me. I don’t know why they didn’t put the solar facility on the base. Maybe the brass didn’t want to give up their parking lots and golf course.

  7. LarrytheG Avatar

    that point looks to be about 100 acres of parking lots and related.

    it takes about 3 acres to generate a megawatt so looks to be enough for 20 or more mw. maybe 150 homes per MW… probably not near enough to power the base stand-alone.

    but you still have other land beyond the golf course.. perimeter roads, the runway clear zones, etc…

    these mandates come down from above – and there is latitude on how to meet them…

    a base I’m familiar with got power from two different power plants – had a separate dedicated line build from the second plant independent from the grid as well as dozens of backup generators.

    we NEVER had a sustained power outage… we ran 24/7 continuously no matter what was happening outside the base.. hurricanes… snow storms, whatever.. I suspect Norfolk has equivalent capability before solar ever came along.. so now it’s a game of how to keep that capability but reduce costs…

    every one of those carriers has a nuke power plant that generates enough electricity also for 5000 crew – which are not on it when they are being rehabbed. they never shut those nukes down.

    this is the kind of thing the Commander will delegate out to staff.

  8. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    I am trying hard, but so far in vain, to find a point to this blog item.
    The author seems to say the Navy is wrong in diversifying its power sources to stuff where Dominion is not strong, namely renewables. He’s also trying to set up Obama for some blame but as commenters have pointed out, this has nothing to do with Obama. There are GAO reports looking at DOD solar farms but Norfolk Naval Base wasn’t studied. Somehow, somewhere, we are supposed to transfer the GAO criticism of other bases and farms to Norfolk..

    Having failed to understand all of these points, I assume the argument is: “Don’t bother setting up your own power plans because Dominion can do it for you!.”

    “Dominion is a secure and reliable provider of electricity under normal circumstances, so DoD clearly was looking for something more.,” he writes.

    Mind you, dear readers, Dominions sponsors this blog, so, of course you are going to hear Dominion’s viewpoint.

    What I can’t understand is why a North Carolina solar farm 40 miles from a Navy base is so much more insecure than a Dominion nuclear or natural gas or coal plant.

    For the sake of argument, let’s suppose there’s a nuclear war. Naturally Norfolk would be on the A-list. But so would Surry and North Anna nuclear plants owned by Dominion and I really doubt they’d survive several hundred kilotons or more of nuclear blast. So, if you do get to that point, NO energy source is likely to survive.

    I am somewhat familiar with nuclear weapons because I covered diplomacy involving the United States and Russia back when I was a foreign correspondent and dealt with nuclear disarmament issues.

    I can’t address cyber warfare because I don’t know enough about it. As for solar farms in the flat peanut fields of northeastern North Carolina, I guess you could use some kind of explosion, an air burst or something, that would shatter all of the panels.

    But then, you likely could do the same thing if the panels were scattered all over Norfolk Naval Base’s acres of parking lots, fields and its relatively tiny golf course.

    This all brings me back to my point, which is, what’s the point here?

  9. Having failed to understand all these points, I assume the argument is, “Don’t bother setting up your own power plans because Dominion can do it for you!”

    You assume wrong. That statement does not logically follow from anything I wrote, and it most definitely was not the subtext of this article.

    This is the point: The Department of Defense is spending billions of dollars on solar on the grounds that it enhances the security of U.S. military bases. That is a defensible position if the solar facilities are located in the military bases and integrated into a micro-grid that can sustain itself if and when the commercial grid goes down. It is not a defensible position if the solar is located miles away and tied into the commercial grid. If the commercial grid goes down, the solar power also becomes inaccessible. It’s as simple as that. I’m sorry I didn’t make the point clearer.

    The Obama administration was really using defense dollars to pursue its green agenda but disguised its intent by arguing that the investments would improve base security and resiliency. That’s not to say the green agenda was wrong. But it is to say that the investments were sold under false pretenses.

  10. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    You conveniently fail to address my points on security. Yes, a solar farm on the naval base might enjoy better security against sappers carrying explosive charges. Other than that, I fail to see what difference it makes if the farm is in North Carolina or in Virginia. In fact, if you look at military history, you will see that governments have located important and sensitive installations at different locations. Why do you think there were so many missile silos built miles apart in the Dakotas and Montana?

    BTW, there’s a story in today’s WSJ about the shakiness of nuclear power plants and a slowdown in building them. Add to that Toshiba’s serious financial problems from its nuke sales, maybe the Navy (and Bush-Obama) are smart to branch into other things.

    Also, I hear the right wing echo chamber in your response. Didn’t you understand that the push to get defense installations into renewables predated Obama? Or, are you going the perpetuate the lie that doing so is part of Obama’s underhanded green agenda?

    I guess if you state something misleading or untruthful enough times, people will think it is the truth. And that, unfortunately, is what one reads on this blog too many times.

  11. PG, you assert, “The author seems to say the Navy is wrong in diversifying its power sources to stuff where Dominion is not strong, namely renewables.” No, if you’re looking for right and wrong here it’s the Navy’s claim that it was a more secure supply when it really isn’t. But so what, you suggest? If the end result is more solar, who cares if it’s done under false pretenses, you suggest? I agree with you and LarryG, plenty of good stuff gets done for the wrong reasons, and this had nothing to do with Obama.

    But the GAO is right to criticise any government agency that claims to satisfy the requirements of a law with actions that in fact don’t satisfy that law. That those actions did satisfy another law, or were “good” in your opinion, does not excuse the Navy’s claim, here, that its electric supply at Norfolk was made more “secure.”

    Does that matter? Well, how do you feel about applying your rationale to the incoming President? “The law didn’t exactly authorize the expenditure of those agency funds for what they did with them but heck, they meant well (according to Breitbart), so let’s give ’em a pass on what they did here.” Yeah, right! Just sit back and enjoy:

  12. LarrytheG Avatar

    DOD is working in a bigger context than just solar for electricity.

    The DOD effort predates the Obama Administration.

    There is a lot going on – on the bases to curtail demand …to incorporate energy conservation technology and it’s been going on for more than 3 decades as military bases are heavy consumers of energy and it’s a major cost of their operational budgets.

    Keep in mind – the bigger context that DOD has bases around the world and in many places where grid reliability is not good and they find themselves burning fuel oil 24/7 sometimes to keep the lights on in places where getting the fuel oil is not guarantee either.

    even in friendly locations on islands – the military has traditionally run diesel generators 24/7 to have power.

    some of what they are doing stateside may well be pilot projects…

    I don’t know the ins and outs of the Norfolk Base but I don’t think others do either.. there’s more speculation and hinting that they’re trying to hide something…

    that’s just more silly stuff that too much of is going on these days.

    watchdog types are just running amok… for no real good purpose other than to tar govt with some perceived sin… we’re just tearing down our institutions these days.

    don’t mistake my view for not wanting accountability but people can’t be running all over creation looking for dirt to then try to “blow up” as yet another example of bad govt.

  13. CleanAir&Water Avatar

    “a defensible position if the solar facilities are located in the military bases and integrated into a micro-grid that can sustain itself if and when the commercial grid goes down.” … Absolutely and that is what DOD is doing across the country. They hope to iron out all the wrinkles of creting micro-grids and then act as a national prototype design. Check out Fort Carson. It was one of the first, but there are several others.

    Here is another boogie-man for the Norfolk base. … Virginia regulations. I tried to bring community solar to northern VA 5 years ago and was knocked out by the rules. More recently a campus like company with lots of buildings, lots of meters, and lots of space for solar, gave up the idea because VA’s net metering rules say that you can only net meter 1 meter. So a field of solar panels could only get credit from the total amount of electricity only 1 building used. Microgrids are not in the rules and connection regs are not up to the job either.

    I submit that the Navy came up with the NC site because it is out of VA jurisdiction and they could at least save money with a fixed rate over a lot of years from the NC solar.

    1. TooManyTaxes Avatar

      CA&W – you make some good points. But I don’t see the connection to what the Navy does and what the VSCC does. Clearly, the federal government can pretty much do whatever it wants on a Navy base as to energy, irrespective of what state utility regulations state.

      Both developing alternative energy sources by the Navy (assuming its cost effective) and developing a more secure source or backup source of power than (presumably) Dominion’s plants make sense. It’s just that the Navy cannot do both with the off-the-base location. More evidence why so many Americans just don’t trust Uncle Sam and his agencies.

  14. CA&W, agree and agree! There is simply no reason whatsoever that the Navy, or DOD as a whole, can’t do rooftop solar, or find other space on these military bases to cover with solar collectors. But IMHO there are two principal obstacles to doing anything so innovative: 1. planning, and 2. operations. This was a turnkey deal with Dominion and it made the problem of complying with the mandate to do renewables and to make a more secure electric supply “go away.” The Navy did not have to plan the construction, and once it’s operational, the Navy does not have to operate it. A benefit on the side is it probably gives the Navy a reduced rate for its electricity (we don’t know how that is packaged). “Turnkey” is huge to the administration of a Navy Base; Dominion knows this; Dominion packaged it just the way the Navy wanted it; the Navy agreed.

    I don’t think there’s any obstacle to a Navy Base-wide microgrid in Virginia in the literal, physical sense of “microgrid” — a customer-owned set of wires and transformers and switches connecting all the buildings on a single property, with one point of interconnection with the larger electric Grid. But — asserting that Dominion’s delivery of its power to multiple Dominion-owned meters on a military base and adding up all those deliveries as “one delivery” and demanding a “net metering” discount for the whole shebang because there is some on-site generation on-base also amounts to a “Navy microgrid” — forget about it. That’s no “microgrid,” it’s an accounting gimmick using Dominion’s own equipment, and I don’t blame Dominion for opposing price discounts like “net metering” premised on such an abuse of the concept.

  15. CleanAir&Water Avatar

    “Dominion packaged it just the way the Navy wanted it; the Navy agreed.”

    I disagree. It looks to me to be the best the Navy could get from Dominion with current rules.

    “That’s no “microgrid,” it’s an accounting gimmick using Dominion’s own equipment, and I don’t blame Dominion for opposing price discounts like “net metering” premised on such an abuse of the concept.”

    Net Metering is not a price discount. I do not understand why seeking credit for the excess solar produced is an “abuse of the concept.“ We have reviewed several solar projects that sold their excess power directly to PJM. They were originally designed that way because VA rules don’t allow anything other than “on property – 1 meter” purchase. Making the DOD bases ‘islandable’ is a DOD goal and it can’t be done in VA. Creating a microgrid won’t fit under the old rules of connections and ownership.

  16. LarrytheG Avatar

    re: ” Making the DOD bases ‘islandable’ is a DOD goal and it can’t be done in VA. ”

    why is that? regulation? boy – you’d think Bacon would be all over THAT! bad regulation forcing the siting of a solar facility in NC instead of near the base. Oh the HORROR!

    Willing to bet those GA guys are not going to be looking into this either …

    part of the politics of this is that if DOD is doing it and DOD, as a respected institution is perceived to be actually accepting Global Warming as real and actually spend money on preparing for it – then the skeptics have to discredit it as a legitimate activity … i.e. saying Obama “forced ‘Green’ ” .. questioning why things were done one way and not the other… dinging them for not being “transparent” (translation – we can’t better stuff to attack you on).

    so the skeptics are apoplectic about DOD treating Global Warming as a real threat…

  17. To Larry and Peter, yes, the military has taken an interest in renewable energy since at least the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Here’s how GAO explains that initiative:

    “DoD has recognized that depending on the commercial power grid, which is vulnerable to disruption from aging infrastructure, weather-related events, and direct attack, is a risk to maintaining continuous supplies of electricity for its installations. To address this vulnerability, that is, assured access to reliable supplies of energy during an outage of the commercial grid, DoD has established policies to pursue this objective.”

    The key here was not to diversify the fuel supply or even to lock in long-term electricity rates but to maintain continuity of operations on military bases.

    The emphasis changed in 2014 when the Army established the Office of Energy Initiatives and the Navy established the Renewable Energy Program Office to develop large-scale projects with private developers. 2014, you’ll note, was during the Obama administration.

    While the GAO does not say this explicitly, it seems clear that the shift to joint development with private developers was motivated by the desire to exploit federal solar tax credits. The Army and Navy, as government entities, could not use the tax credits. But private developers can. By going this route, the Obama administration was able to build more solar facilities than its military budgets otherwise would have allowed. Just one problem: Most of the solar farms developed by private entities were not connected to military-base microgrids. They did not meet the stated objectives of the 2005 legislation. They did not improve security or resiliency at all.

    In other words, the Obama administration hijacked the program to advance its green agenda. Like I said before, you may think the green agenda is so important that the shift in policy was entirely justified. Let’s just be honest about what happened.

    So, no, Peter, I’m not perpetuating a “lie” about Obama’s green agenda. Perhaps I should insinuate that you are perpetuating a “lie” by trying to cover it up — but I won’t because I’m really tired of people accusing people they disagree with of lying. As for the “right wing echo chamber,” I haven’t seen a single conservative publication touch this issue. I wish the right-wing echo chamber would pick up on my reporting — a little recognition would be nice!

  18. LarrytheG Avatar

    What happened in 2009 was a continuation and evolution of what was laid out in 2005.

    Jim , can you provide any evidence of what you claim or is this what you want to believe?

    you say this: ” The key here was not to diversify the fuel supply or even to lock in long-term electricity rates but to maintain continuity of operations on military bases.”

    isn’t that YOUR view? do you think you know what DON’s goals were and if you did – why didn’t you quote DON or GAO on this belief?

    ” While the GAO does not say this explicitly, it seems clear that the shift to joint development with private developers was motivated by the desire to exploit federal solar tax credits.”

    again – you’re not reporting facts here.. no quotes.. just your own speculation – that you then use to support the rest of your commentary – as if it were fact.

    sorry guy.. that’s NOT objective reporting – and I bet you know it.

    you’re entitled to your own view but to represent it as fact and support for commentary as if it were and to claim Obama was behind it is just more right wing conspiracy blather…of which we’ve been inundated with … to point now where they have a name for it now – FAKE NEWS and so any Tom, Dick or Harry can make any kind of assertion .. the echo chamber shotguns it to their constituency that loves these thing and it becomes a believed “fact”.

    You give Dominion the benefit of the doubt about their actions and motivations.. you come right out and say ” I don’t know for sure” or similar.

    but get Mr. Obama in the mix and .. you KNOW.. it’s a FACT!!

    so it’s clear – your “objectivity” is entirely situational … it just depends on the politics.. in other words – Bias…

    when you say you lean “right” – that’s fine – it’s when it gets slow-rolled as supporting facts for other things.. a building block.. I have to question the bias and unobjective nature of that kind of commentary.

    where is the same benefit of the doubt you give to Dominion?

  19. CleanAir&Water Avatar

    I am sorry you didn’t take a look at FT Carson. Being in Colorado, where the state had forward looking rules, they were 1st responders to the 2007 mandates. You are right about ownership and taking advantage of tax credits. PPA’s allow that and one was used at Ft Carson in 2997. But it’s wrong to say DOD energy Policy was high-jacked by Obama. It was well underway and the primary rationale was to make bases free from the grid – net zero – and therefore secure.

    Energy Efficiency is the 1st Priority …
    ♣ 16.3% energy intensity reduction
    ♣ Lighting upgrades, boiler replacements, Utility Control System expansion
    ♣ Energy efficiency facilities
    ♣ Energy Savings Performance Contracting

    Renewable Energy is the 2nd Priority …
    ♣ 3% of Fort Carson’s electric use generated from on-site renewable
    ♣ 2 MW PV completed through Power Purchase Agreement in 2007
    ♣ 235kw PV carport; 482kw tracking PV system; 1.4 MW at airfield
    ♣ Completed Environmental Assessment for potential renewable energy sites
    ♣ Large wind purchase – 40% of electrical use
    ♣ 5% from woody biomass energy purchase

    Challenges ….
    ♣ Low utility rates have a negative impact on life cycle analysis
    ♣ Community/utility renewable energy goals are not as aggressive as Federal/DOD goals.

  20. LarrytheG Avatar

    If DOD saves money on electricity – money is fungible – and that saved/recovered money could well be spent on on-base reliability and energy security AND as CA&W points out, it IS part of a long-standing comprehensive strategy that has a lot of parts.

    Apparently Jim thinks unless they only do one thing.. micro-grids.. it’s wrong!

    The simple truth is that Conservative types don’t like renewables and don’t like “leftists” who like renewables and after that it’s all downhill from there.. as we get into “hijacking” and other nefarious evil things that leftists do to bolster the case that Climate Change is real and renewables are a needed response.

  21. LarrytheG Avatar

    Need to point out an existing technology that Norfolk Naval can use – and maybe already is:

    “Microturbines are small combustion turbines approximately the size of a refrigerator with outputs of 25 kW to 500 kW.

    Microturbines offer a number of potential advantages compared to other technologies for small-scale power generation. Waste heat recovery can be used with these systems to achieve efficiencies greater than 80%”

    they do need fossil fuels – storage and/or a viable supply source

    How long it could last may well depend on how much solar or other renewables they use – so they can stretch their limited fossil fuel supplies.

    there are lots of different issues and logistics but I’m willing to let DOD work these issues as part of their overall strategy to evolve their bases to be able to operate independent from the grid. I do not think they are there yet and I’m not willing to dismiss off-base solar as not a legitimate part of a bigger strategy as I just don’t know how all the parts might fit together but I do trust the military to figure it out – and in the end – what they do – may well be
    something civilian towns and neighborhoods could do also not unlike other technologies that the military developed and became valuable to civilians.

    It could well be that the NC solar site is part of a pilot – just as Dominion is doing – for the Navy Base to start to calibrate size, scope and scale of solar needed to operate the base BEFORE they start a massive reconfiguration of the base itself .

    I don’t know , I AM speculating (and acknowledge it) .. but for any similarly uninformed critic to start accusing them of being politically “forced” to do something of the scope and scale of the military’s long standing energy efforts is just injecting politics into it for no real good reason.

    this is the state of our politics these days and no institution including the military is immune to it and there is no benefit to it.

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