HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- Leaders from Hill Air Force Base and Rocky Mountain Power met earlier this month and marked a milestone in another joint energy project – the completion of a new 350 kilowatt-hour solar array located near the Hill Aerospace Museum.
Rocky Mountain Power built the array and will own and operate it for the next 25 years as part of its Blue Sky program, but Hill AFB will add the energy generated to its power grid.
“We are the third largest energy consumer in the Air Force because of the various missions we have under way here,” said Col. Jenise Carroll, 75th Air Base Wing commander. “This new renewable energy project adds to the total power generation capabilities we now have on the base.”
Carroll and Rocky Mountain Power president and CEO Gary Hoogeveen stopped by the array during Hoogeveen’s visit to the base today. Hoogeveen is partnered with Carroll in the base’s Honorary Commander Program that pairs Air Force leadership with community leaders to provide networking and education opportunities.
“Our missions here have been growing and they have become more and more reliant on energy,” Carroll said. “We must ensure that we have a resilient source of energy to do our mission when and where needed.”
In addition to the array, the project includes a kiosk located inside the museum that is powered by the array and displays the array’s real time energy production. The kiosk also offers general information about how solar panels generate power and provides background on the Blue Sky program.
Nickolas King, the base’s energy manager, says the base has a goal to “reduce energy consumption by 2.5 percent and water consumption by 2 percent over the year.”
Until things turned around in 2020, he said, the base struggled to meet these goals primarily due to mission growth here.
“We completed a $42 million project under the Air Force’s Energy Savings Performance Contract in 2020,” he said. “We installed LED lighting, built onto our solar array to add 3.55 megawatts of additional solar energy and completed several process improvement projects in the air logistics complex. Since these improvements we have seen a 9 percent reduction in energy consumption through the end of April this year.”
King said more projects are in the works, including additional partnering with Rocky Mountain Power to find even more ways to reduce energy use in the base’s more than 1,700 buildings and hangars.
“Ensuring we meet our energy goals is something that everyone at Hill can help with – whether it’s turning off lights to vacant areas, turning off equipment not in use, etc. For more complex issues we have a great Energy Management Team that is always working to identify energy efficiency and resilience efforts and we offer support to all organizations on the installation.”
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