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Tinker reduces energy consumption during energy crisis, preserves mission capability

A snow-plowed road with an LED sign to the right.

An LED sign board next to a snow-plowed Industrial Blvd. shows the current temperature as 1 degree at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, Feb. 16, 2021. Tinker Air Force Base preserved mission capability as 72nd Air Base Wing Civil Engineers took a proactive stance this week to assist Oklahoma energy partners and the community in finding ways to reduce base energy consumption while still preserving the integrity of industrial facilities. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Chris Seaton)

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --

Tinker Air Force Base preserved mission capability as 72nd Air Base Wing Civil Engineers took a proactive stance this week to assist Oklahoma energy partners and the community in finding ways to reduce base energy consumption while still preserving the integrity of industrial facilities.

The state of Oklahoma saw multiple winter storms and record-low temperatures this week causing strains across the electrical grid, even resulting in some planned rolling power outages

According to Base Energy Manager Joey Hunter, the storm put an unusual stress on all three of Tinker’s utility providers and their customer base.

“Tinker is a part of the customer base for all three utilities and shares in the need to help ensure all three utilities can meet customer needs,” Hunter said.

Base Civil Engineer Stephanie Wilson worked closely with OG&E and ONG early on during the storm to plan for requirement needs from the utility companies as well as discussing Tinker’s energy needs to stay mission ready.

The installation had already reduced its energy consumption due to the long holiday weekend; however, the need for further reduction became evident early in the week. Ms. Wilson instructed her staff to find additional avenues to conserve energy.

Tinker’s largest energy consuming mission partner, the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex, jumped into action. But according to OC-ALC Energy Manager Joseph Cecrle, the need to find a way to reduce energy quickly, while ensuring critical equipment was not affected by the extreme temperatures, was a key factor.

“CE had several calls with our three energy partners to find out their needs as well as explaining to them what Tinker’s needs were.  After that, we were able to shift operation usage for some of our equipment,” Cecrle said. “While we were able to shut down some of our industrial equipment, we needed to operate other industrial equipment on a rotating basis.”

Hunter said Tinker has been very proactive in reducing its energy footprint for several years, but this unexpected storm has provided an opportunity to observe where future opportunities exist to make improvements to the base utility infrastructure.

“We have unique national strategic mission requirements, but it’s vitally important that we work with our energy partners to ensure we can continue our missions while assisting them to meet their needs,” Wilson said.