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Regional Energy


Regional Energy

Marine Corps Installations West


Marines conduct training aboard MCB Camp Pendleton.

Marine Corps Installations West (MCIWEST) is comprised of seven Marine Corps Bases and Air Stations in California and one Air Station in Yuma, Arizona. MCIWEST’s mission is to provide the facility and training infrastructure to enable Marine Corps air and ground forces to live and train in support of the Marine Corps’ mission of winning our nation’s battles and making Marines with a focus on supporting the warfighter’s operational readiness and providing their families with services to enrich their lives while their loved ones are in the service of our Country.


It is MCIWEST policy that:

a. Utility infrastructure be secure, safe, reliable, and efficient.
b. Utility commodities are procured effectively and efficiently.
c. Installations maximize energy and water conservation efforts.
d. Installations invest in cost effective renewable energy sources and energy efficient facility designs.
e. MCIWEST will regionally consolidate requirements to aggregate bargaining power to achieve better energy pricing.
f. Readiness and sustainability policies and installation missions are considered and facilitated as part of installation energy management practices.

Energy Independence and Resilience

The 25 MW Generation Station at MCAS Yuma capable of providing 100% of the Main Station backup in the event of a grid outage. The system is owned, operated and maintained by the utility Arizona Public Service.

Energy to operate facilities in support of the national defense mission is a large and recurring cost in terms of taxpayer dollars as well as a drain on the non-renewable resources consumed. Marine Corps dependence on fossil fuels is both a financial and security vulnerability.

To move towards energy independence, all MCIWEST installations are aggressively pursuing the reduction of dependence on non-renewable resources. The application of cutting edge technology to increase energy efficiency and expand the use of renewable energy resources such as solar power, wind turbines, and geothermal energy, is a key element of gaining energy security. The goal is to achieve “Net Zero,” meaning we produce at least as much energy as we consume.

The Department of Defense (DoD) defines energy resilience as the ability to prepare for and recover from energy disruptions that impact mission assurance on military installations. Efficient use of energy combined with energy production will result in energy resilience aboard all MCIWEST bases and stations allowing a continuity of operations in support of the Marine Corps’ national defense mission.

High Performance and Sustainable Buildings

Buildings and other constructed facilities represent a significant and continuing commitment of Marine Corps resources. As responsible stewards of the environment, MCIWEST is accountable to the Nation to utilize precious resources in a way that is both efficient and sustainable.

There are minimum requirements set forth for all new construction and renovation construction aboard military installations. The current version of those requirements can be found in Unified Facilities Criteria (UFC) 1-200-02.
The UFC provides minimum unified requirements and guidance for planning, designing, constructing, renovating, and maintaining high performance and sustainable buildings that will enhance DOD mission capability by reducing total ownership costs.

The purpose of the UFC is to:
• Require greater energy and water efficiency measures that are supported by a life-cycle cost analysis
• Balance building performance with occupant comfort, health and wellness, safety and productivity
• Guide compliance with higher level mandates, policies and standards
• Include requirements for energy resiliency relative to mission execution

These sustainable practices result in:
• Reduced total ownership costs of buildings
• Improved energy and water efficiency
• Enhanced building and installation performance and sustainability
• Enhanced resource and environmental stewardship
• Enhanced energy and water security
• Improved air and water quality
• Reduced strain on the local utility infrastructure

MCAS Yuma flight line.

In addition to incorporating energy efficient design and construction into our new buildings, MCIWEST installations are applying new technologies to reduce energy requirements. Marine Corps Air Station Yuma has replaced the incandescent bulbs of their runway lights, taxiways, navigational signage, and obstruction lights with Light Emitting Diodes (LED). LEDs are much more durable, and consume significantly less electricity.

Renewable Energy

Wind turbine aboard MCLB Barstow.

In March, 2009, installation of the Marine Corps' first wind turbine was completed at our logistics base in Barstow providing 1.0 megawatt of power with plans to upgrade to 1.325 megawatts (MW). In April 2018, Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow was recognized with the Secretary of Defense Environmental Award for Sustainability for an Industrial Installation. Other MCIWEST installations are investigating the potential for utilizing wind energy.

With the abundance of sunny weather here in the Southwest, our installations take the opportunity to produce electricity from photovoltaic (PV) cell arrays which decreases their reliance on off-base energy production and increases their resiliency and energy security. The Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center has been drawing on a 1.1 megawatt solar farm since 2003, once the largest PV system in the U.S. military. MCAS Yuma has 22 solar PV sites capable of producing 2.1 million kilowatt-hours (kWh)/year. MCLB Barstow has 1,233 kilowatts (kW) of PV solar arrays currently operating and another 1,477 being installed through an Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC). Even the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center (MCMWTC) at Bridgeport is utilizing a 485 kW PV solar system which covers the average required electricity load of the installation.

Photovoltaic solar arrays aboard MCAGCC Twentynine Palms.

Additionally, heat captured from the electrical generating plant at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center is used to feed the base’s absorption coolers for air conditioning in the summer, when temperatures in the Mojave Desert can reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit. In winter, when the base experiences temperatures in the low 30s, the hot water augments boilers for heating.

Alternative Energy

Almost 910,000 tons of waste is deposited in San Diego’s landfill yearly, which is located on Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. Methane, a greenhouse gas, produced as a byproduct of the landfill, is captured and used to provide 90 percent of the fuel to power electrical generators at the Metropolitan Biosolids Center and North City Water Reclamation Plant to total 10 MW. Currently MCAS Miramar has a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), contracted through Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) to Fortistar LLC for 3.2 MW of landfill power. 


San Diego Landfill and Fortistar Power Plant aboard MCAS Miramar.

This contract enabled the Fortistar plant to expand their generation with two CAT 3520 Engine Gensets (1.6 MW each), which are both dedicated to the MCAS Miramar electrical distribution system, maintained by NAVFAC Utilities.  The 15-year agreement is from 2011 through 2026.

The load at MCAS Miramar is expected to grow as the base expands to accommodate new missions, such as the Joint Strike Fighter. For the past 3 years, Miramar and the Navy Resilient Energy Program Office are working with the City of San Diego's Pure Water Program to negotiate an Intergovernmental Support Agreement (IGSA) to expand the landfill gas capacity for MCAS Miramar by 1.6 MW for a total of 4.8 MW which will significantly increase the amount of power produced from the landfill.

Another alternative energy source is utilized by the logistics base in Barstow. They operate a stationary 25 kW fuel cell providing backup power at the fire station located on the Nebo Complex. MCLB Barstow previously used diesel generators for backup power for the MCLB fire station. MCLB Barstow chose to use fuel cell technology for the fire station power backup system due to its high reliability, low maintenance, and clean operation.

Maximizing Efficiency

Modernizing the grid to make it “smarter” and more resilient through the use of cutting-edge technologies, equipment, and controls that communicate and work together to deliver electricity more reliably and efficiently can greatly reduce the frequency and duration of power outages, reduce storm impacts, and restore service faster when outages occur. Currently in use at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center and planned for use at other installations, Smart Grid technology is realizing a significant improvement in the efficient use of electricity.

Diagram by Sandia National Laboratories.

The Bottom Line
Marines, Sailors, and civilian employees of MCIWEST are proud our efforts to conserve energy, save taxpayers money, and reduce the burden on our local communities. We are also proud we are supporting national security by increasing our energy resiliency and reducing our reliance on a hydrocarbon fuel supply in an unstable world.