Marine Corps Installations West
Regional Energy

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, resilient, 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.

With the homeland no longer considered a sanctuary, installations must place significant emphasis on energy security. Interruptions to the local utility power grid may be naturally occurring or it could be from a criminal or terroristic act. Regardless, Marine Corps installations must reduce energy demand, be hardened against and able to withstand an attack, and be able to bounce back quickly from a successful attack. Those requirements are the pillars of an effective energy security framework: efficiency; reliability; and resilience.

Warfighters abroad rely on a reliable electric grid at home. Energy reliability encompasses making sure an installations energy supply is:
Quality: Power to an installation that is of high quality (no voltage deviations or frequency events) will decrease the likelihood of system malfunctions, equipment damage or failure.
Diversified: Diversified energy sources will increase overall reliability and resilience. This includes integration of distributed energy resources (including renewables) to produce utility cost savings and support energy security through disruptions to fuel supply.
Secure: Cyber secure control and monitoring systems provide decision makers with necessary information to enhance reliability of energy sources. All installation audiences must be aware and practice good cyber risk management, including basic cyber hygiene (protecting passwords, logging off, avoiding malicious downloads, etc.).

With regard to energy, resilience means the energy infrastructure can:  
Take a Punch: Improving the resilience of energy and water distribution systems in order to independently provide water and energy to sustain and conduct military operations.
Stay Standing: The ability to maintain service to critical infrastructure in the event of a significant or complete loss of electrical service from the transmission system.
Punch Back: The capacity to rapidly assess damage and deploy properly-trained crews to quickly resume normal operations following energy disruptions.

The efficient use of energy resources is a critical component of mission readiness. Continued implementation of innovative energy performance management practices and efficient technologies will maximize funding available for future operational capabilities by providing:
Increased Warfighting Capabilities: The efficient use of energy not only protects resources, but also helps the USMC to increase combat capability since less emergency power is required for critical missions in the event of a disruption
Cost-Effective Solutions: Using resources efficiently will lower costs and reduce energy use intensity.
Innovative Technologies: Installations will continue to identify efficiency-focused innovative technologies and methodologies that provide secure energy and water.

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

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.

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 resilience 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 more than 2,000 kilowatts (kW) of PV solar arrays currently operating when combining both the Nebo and Yermo annexes. 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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

The MCIWEST energy team continues to work on all three pillars of the energy security framework (reliability, resilience and efficiency) in an effort to ensure all installations are capable of supporting the operating forces and meeting any and all critical and mission-essential requirements during any interruption of energy supply from the local utility.

Marine Corps Installations West