Renewable energy helps power RIMPAC exercise

July 18, 2014 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

Renewable energy helps power RIMPAC exercise
Staff Sgt. Chris Hubenthal

U.S. Army Sgt. Roderick Macleod (left) and U.S. Army Sgt. Jeremy Nissly (right), both 249th Engineer Battalion prime power production specialists, prepare renewable energy equipment during the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise July 9, 2014, at Ford Island, Hawaii. Approximately 40 kilowatts of renewable power serves more than 264 personnel and powers administrative equipment at the Logistics Support Activity in support of the exercise. Twenty-two nations, 49 ships, and six submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 26 to Aug. 1 in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2014 is the 24th exercise in the series that began in 1971. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal)

FORD ISLAND, Hawaii – Establish a power grid with less manpower. Check. Provide energy to 264 personnel. Check. Run the Logistics Support Activity (LSA) on Ford Island for the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise with the use of Earth’s natural resources at a lower cost. Check and check.

Service members and civilians cut back the use of fossil fuels by using renewable energy sources during this year’s RIMPAC exercise to showcase and test the effectiveness of green energy resources.

Solar panel systems, a windmill, and a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle are some types of equipment used to harness wind, sunlight, and hydrogen as sources of energy to power the LSA here.

Approximately 40 kilowatts of renewable power serves more than 264 personnel and powers administrative equipment in support of the exercise.

Members of the 249th Engineer Battalion, 9th Mission Support Command, the Department of Public Works, the Naval Facilities Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center and the Office of Naval Research provide assets and expertise to make the use of renewable energy a success.

U.S. Army Sgt. Jeremy Nissly, 249th Engineer Battalion prime power production specialist, says that transitioning from fuel generators to green energy has been seamless.

“The transition for us is actually very easy,” Nissly said. “Power is power, so once we know the ratings of the equipment we’re working with, distributing [energy] is pretty much the same and you follow the same rules of power. Ohm’s law is Ohm’s law no matter what the type of equipment.”

U.S. Army Sgt. Roderick Macleod, 249th Engineer Battalion prime power production specialist, explained how the use of renewable energy benefits productivity.

“From the economical and logistical standpoint, there is a rule in logistics where 7 gallons of fuel is the cost to have 1 gallon of fuel deployed,” Macleod said. “Every time we start to use an alternative source of energy we’re offsetting that cost and that concern.”

Master Chief Petty Officer Ernest Sierra, Coastal Riverine Squadron 11, and senior enlisted leader for RIMPAC’s Boat Department, said the use of renewable energy has saved time and manpower during the exercise.

“From an expeditionary point of view, it took less manpower to set up the solar panels and the windmills,” Sierra said. “What would have taken us 90 minutes, plus a truck, plus a ground guide, plus a driver, plus a spotter, and having to put berms down to satisfy our environmental concerns due to the exhaust leaking diesel fuel took 15 minutes, and we’re up on a power grid.”

Jessica Hiraoka, Systems Center Pacific engineer, said that the use of renewable energy could support the armed forces outside of the RIMPAC exercise.

“With Iraq and Afghanistan, we’ve had a lot of Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) out there for the last 10 years or so and a lot of the injuries come from improvised explosive devices (IEDs) from bringing fuel to those FOBs. The green initiative is really a way to try to save lives by reducing fuel consumption and get soldiers and Marines off the road,” she said.

The energy setup of the LSA is designed to handle a growing community of service members and assets, fulfilling both their operational and personal needs.

“To be able to come back after a 12- to 24-hour shift downrange to lay in your cot and plug in an eReader to read a book and to go to sleep is the type of stuff that I love about this job,” Nissly said.

RIMPAC participants noticed a change in operations and convenience with the renewable energy setup.

“Being able to sleep through the night without background noise from a huge generator right outside the tent really made for a much more peaceful night, which in the morning makes for a better day,” said Yeoman 2nd Class Dana Backstrom, Navy Cargo Handling Battalion. “Environmentally, leaving a smaller footprint is really impressive and really a great thing to be a part of. I think environmentally, economically, and socially, it is a huge step forward for the Navy to show the world, ‘Look at what we can do.’”

Twenty-two nations, 49 ships, six submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 26 to Aug. 1 in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2014 is the 24th exercise in the series that began in 1971.

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ImagesRenewable energy…
U.S. Army Sgt. Roderick Macleod (foreground) and U.S….


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U.S. Army Sgt. Roderick Macleod (left) and U.S. Army…


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This work, Renewable energy helps power RIMPAC exercise, by SSgt Chris Hubenthal, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.

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