By Sgt. Christoher Duncan, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton
CAMP PENDLETON, California --
Commissioners with the California Energy Commission toured Camp Pendleton, Sept. 17, to gain an overview of the base’s mission and various support functions.
The commissioners observed some of Camp Pendleton’s initiatives and successes in the employment of alternative energy vehicles and fuel usage, several of the ongoing and developing renewable energy projects, and some of the tactical expeditionary energy equipment here.
"It’s a great opportunity for us to educate them on what the Marine Corps is doing from an energy efficiency stand-point and also to identify opportunities in which the state and their commission can partner with the Marine Corps to improve those projects and initiatives,” said Col. John Gamelin, director of governmental external affairs for Marine Corps Installations-West.
“We started off showing them our hydrogen dispersion plant, alternative fuel vehicles, and we’re also showing them how the Marine Corps has an energy ethos that goes far beyond this base and we’re demonstrating some of the energy initiatives and capabilities that we have through the solar panels and kinetic energy generation devices,” said Gamelin.
The CEC is California’s primary energy policy and planning agency, established by the state legislature in 1974. It consists of five commissioners, who serve in staggered five-year terms, are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the senate. The commissioners also represent legal, environmental, economic, science/engineering expertise and the public at large.
“We’re working on things like energy efficiency, transportation, what Pendleton is doing with hydrogen and if there are places we can work together,” said Janea Scott, a commissioner with the California Energy Commission. “We can collaborate with the base on energy efficiency projects like fleet vehicles or day-lighting projects for buildings.”
During a meeting held here for the commissioners, base officials explained that the Marine Corps is developing and aligning its expeditionary energy posture with the future force called for in the Marine Corps Vision and Strategy 2025.
While here, the commissioners sat with base leadership to learn more about the various ways Pendleton is reducing usage with solar and kinetic power generating devices.
“What I’d like most is for them to get a good education on what the Marine Corps, in the region as well as Camp Pendleton, is doing to improve our energy efficiency, reducing our energy intensity and increase our renewable energy generation opportunities,” said Gamelin.
The CEC representatives also traveled to various locations on base to see the base’s efforts to efficiently use water and fuel.
“I think the efforts Pendleton is making are very interesting,” said Scott. “We got to see the hydrogen fueling station and, the photovoltaic facility in Camp Pendleton’s Box Canyon. It was really neat to see the two different phases and solar panels the base is using and how they are working to help its power efficiency.”
The CEC members were also able to learn more about Camp Pendleton’s intent to reduce its energy consumption as a whole.
“I didn’t realize that there was a goal for the Marine Corps to be totally independent of fossil fuels by 2025,” said David Hochschild, also a commissioner with the California Energy Commission. “That’s a bold goal and we want to do everything we can to support the Marines and the rest of the services in achieving it, especially since it is priority for the State of California to make real progress toward our clean energy goals.”
Marines with 9th Communications Battalion and other units on base presented the CEC representatives with a static display of equipment like the Solar Portable Alternative Communications Energy System, which was developed to increase energy efficiency for Marines on the battlefield.
“I’ve never seen the portable solar panels before,” said Scott. “It was good to see how light they were; the amount of capability it will allow users to have is phenomenal. I didn’t know that kind of technology, research and transfer was taking place.”
According to Hochschild, the CEC has a program where they’re giving away about 140-million dollars a year to research and development to military installations, and has funded several initiatives with different services, including electric vehicles and other alternative energy sources like bio-fuel.
“It’s very encouraging to see all of the progress being made in energy conservation here like the solar array in Camp Pendleton’s Box Canyon and the alternative fuel vehicles,” said Hochschild. “As we reduce our emissions and become more reliant on clean energy we also become more energy independent and that’s a good thing for our national security as well as our environment.”