Naval Station Newport to Host Public Meeting to Present Wind Turbine Plans
Captain Joseph Voboril, Commanding Officer of Naval Station Newport, kicks off an Environmental Assessment.
The Naval Station Newport will host an information session this Thursday to present plans to install wind turbines on Navy property. The wind turbines proposed would be capable of generating up to nine megawatts of power.
The public meeting stems from a wind energy study led by Captain Joseph Voboril, Commanding Officer of Naval Station Newport. Last month, Voboril signed a notification letter to the Chief of Naval Operations, which officially kicked off an Environmental Assessment for the development of wind energy facilities at Naval Station Newport.
The Naval Station’s proposal for wind energy includes the construction, operation and maintenance of wind turbines, along with associated support facilities, to produce electricity for the station’s use. The assessment will examine the impacts based on the largest turbine that can be accommodated to ensure there is no significant negative impact on natural resources, cultural resources or protected species. Wildlife, noise and visual impacts are a few of the considerations that will be closely examined as a part of this study.
“NAVSTA is pursuing alternative energy generation projects in an effort to meet the goals of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and Executive Order 13423, both of which mandate a reduction in utility costs for Federal properties,” Navy officials said. “By creating a cost efficient and technically feasible wind energy project, Newport could possibly reduce its electrical utility bill by as much as twenty-six percent.”
Naval Station Newport, which includes 50 different commands and schools, is one of the largest electrical users in Rhode Island and pays the third highest electrical rate in the Mid-Atlantic Region behind Naval Submarine Base Groton and Naval Weapons Station Earle, which averages at about $12 million annually.
“The purpose of the public meeting is to inform the community on the EA process that NAVSTA is doing to determine the feasibility of using wind turbines to support a portion of the base electrical load,” said Captain Voboril. “The meeting will be an open house format, with picture boards to display the major topics and naval base subject matter experts will be available to answer questions. Attendees will be able to leave written comments and questions that will be addressed in the final report of the environmental assessment.”
NAVSTA is not looking at solely wind energy to reduce operational costs. All buildings renovated or constructed since 2005 have been designed using Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards or incorporating energy-efficient materials and controls. The Naval Station is also involved in executing an Energy Savings Performance Contract with Honeywell Building solutions to replace old, inefficient controls, lighting and fixtures in many of the older buildings. The contract will also replace a chiller plant servicing the Naval War College and Surface Warfare Officers School Command, among other projects.
The public meeting will be held in the Middletown High School cafeteria from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday. The assessment is expected to be completed by September 2011.