Coast Guard facility operates entirely on renewable energy

As energy efficiency projects go, the renewable energy center at the Coast Guard Yard in Baltimore, is about as green as it gets. The center, actually a power plant, runs entirely on methane gas pumped in from a nearby city landfill.

Paying no upfront costs, the Coast Guard in 2007 signed a $41 million energy performance savings contract with the energy company Ameresco, based in Knoxville, Tenn. Under the 15-year contract, Ameresco built the power plant at the Coast Guard Yard; 34 wells and a methane collection system at the landfill; and the pipeline that runs beneath the city road, railroad tracks and highway separating the landfill from the plant.

The plant began generating electricity in April. The only thing missing is a permit to sell excess electricity back to the power grid, and the Coast Guard expects to have that by next year, said Cmdr. John Slaughter, chief of the facilities management division at the Coast Guard Yard.

The contract with Ameresco allows the service to pay for the $15 million in construction costs through energy savings. Slaughter estimated the annual savings in avoided energy costs will exceed $2 million.

The way the contract is written, "our electricity costs are fixed for the next 15 years -- that in itself is huge," Slaughter said. He noted that fluctuating utility costs can make budgeting much more difficult.

Because the yard operates on a revolving fund basis, meaning it has to pay for operations out of the revenue it generates, the contract with Ameresco has increased its financial flexibility and stability, said Capt. John Kaplan, commanding officer of the yard.

The power plant has four generators, each with an output of 1 megawatt. Waste heat emitted in the engine exhaust stack is captured and delivered to the shipyard's steam distribution system. In addition, methane is directed to the yard's central boiler plant where it is burned to produce the balance of winter steam requirements.

Besides reducing demand on the local power grid, every year the plant operates it is cutting greenhouse gas emissions at a rate equivalent to removing 33,000 cars from local roadways, Slaughter said.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.