Marine base turns green from landfill gas

A Marines base near San Diego will soon be meeting up to half of its power requirements from landfill gas.

Marine Corps commanders break ground on the Air Station Miramar landfill gas to energy expansion project Jul. 12. (Photo credit) Sgt. Justin Martinez

The United States Army is famous for its green fatigues, but the Navy is immersing itself in green technology. A Marines base near San Diego will soon be meeting half its energy needs with landfill gas.

Marine Corps Air Station Miramar is opportunely located next to a massive 1.1 million ton municipal landfill. A project to reclaim enough methane gas to provide 25 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year began last month.

There is an anticipated annual savings of $3.75 million, Marine Corps Installations West (MCIWEST) says on its Web site. The project is part of a broader Marines initiative to target a 30 percent reduction in energy consumption by 2015.

Several other Marine Corps' bases under the command of MCIWEST are utilizing solar and wind power. A logistics base in Barstow California began installing wind turbines in 2009, which now generate approximately 30 percent of its power.

MCIWEST currently has 2500 kilowatts of solar arrays installed, generating about four million kilowatt-hours per year, according to its conservation Web site. That saves taxpayers US$600,000 per year in energy costs. Camp Pendleton's use of fuel cell technologies yields $800,000 in savings.

Additionally, the Corps Air Ground Combat Center and Marine Corps Air Station Yuma are examining the use of geothermal power.

The U.S. armed forces have made the adoption of renewable energy technologies a strategic priority. Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn said in April that reducing the military’s dependence on fossil fuel sources is correlated with its ability to project power overseas.

Some of its recent projects among the armed services have included pilot projects to use biofuel blends in Air Force fighter jets, hybrid Army blimps , and an entire Marine Corps unit is now functioning entirely on solar power.

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