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Cape Cod wind turbines help Air Force top DOD energy goals

  • Published
  • By Lea Johnson
  • 21st Space Wing Public Affairs
Change is blowing into Cape Cod Air Force Station as the 6th Space Warning Squadron receives two new wind turbines here saving an estimated $1 million in annual energy costs.

The new wind turbines are expected to cut the station's energy cost by 50 percent after the project's expected completion November 2013.

According to Steve Mellin, 6th SWS support officer, the new wind turbines will put Cape Cod AFS in line with the Air Force's goal of using 25 percent renewable energy by 2025.

"Where we're stationed here on the Massachusetts seashore, there is extremely high potential to generate wind energy. We're in one of the better spots on the East Coast to take advantage of the wind energy," Mellin said.

The new turbines will help power the PAVE Phased Array Warning System, Mellin said. PAVE is a radar system used to detect and track sea-launched, intercontinental ballistic missiles and supports space situational awareness. PAVE also detects and tracks other earth-orbiting satellites.

The project is being funded by the Fiscal Year 12 Energy Conservation Investment Program and is expected to pay for itself within 12 years, according to Air Force Facility Energy Center officials. The Air Force will receive free energy for the remainder of the 20- to 25-year life of the turbines.

In addition to saving money, the turbines also reduce air pollution. Each turbine reduces air emissions by more than 1,000 metric tons of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide annually, according to Air Force Civil Engineer Support Agency officials.

"It will cut down the greenhouse gases and not burn so much oil to generate power," Mellin said.

The location of the wind turbines also means they will not disrupt residential areas.

"We aren't in an area where we have residential houses close by," Mellin said. "In fact, one of the closest houses to the turbines is my house and we don't see the turbines, we don't hear them and we don't get any of the (reflection) off the blades."

The entire Air Force plans to produce renewable energy equal to 27 percent of its total electrical consumption to comply with Title 10 of U.S. Code 2911, a federal law that defines energy performance goals for the DOD.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's list of top purchasers of green power, the Air Force ranks number one in the DOD, number two in the entire federal government and 18th on the national list.