National Guard might lead way

The Army National Guard Station in Bethany Beach is setting its sights on wind power as a way to fulfill executive orders and federal mandates of using more renewable resources.

As part of the Department of Defense’s Energy Conservation Program, there are mandates to reduce energy consumption and to get at least half of their renewable sources from new resources, such as wind, according to 2nd Lt. Nathan Bright, public affairs spokesperson for the Delaware National Guard.

This is interesting to us. As many of our coastal towns have looked into renewable resources, particularly through wind, the National Guard base might be leading the way for the community. The Guard has been good about involving itself in the community, particularly when allowing children on base to learn about military equipment and safety, and this could really be a lightning rod of change for many towns if proven effective.

There is no final design for the project at this point, but the proposed system would have a total capacity of 750 kilowatts, and will use three 250 kw generators. The estimated federal funding needed for the project is $3.365 million.

That’s a significant number, particularly in a time of tough economics throughout the nation. However, the Delaware National Guard spends about $1 million on energy costs, and the savings from renewable wind power could be impressive in the long-term. If this project pays for itself in several years, we might see towns or municipalities follow suit.

As of this time, the National Guard is waiting for an official project number, and then funding to do an environmental assessment through the Army Corps of Engineers. A bid would go out for the design following those steps.

“It’s been approved, but there is no final design yet,” said Bright. We’re excited and eager to have the opportunity. It’s just not going to happen super-fast... It would be good for the Guard and the state.”

We also think it would be good for this community. If it works out and saves the Guard money and energy, then more would follow suit. If it doesn’t provide anything positive, well, people could see that, as well.