US Navy ramps up its renewable energy investment with major Sempra solar partnership
The United States government has been taking a long and serious look at the realities of energy procurement lately. With renewable energy sources decreasing in price while increasing in availability, options like solar power and wind power are becoming a more appealing and available option. What’s more—with the recent release of the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan, calling for a significant increase in energy usage by 2030, government agencies and departments are looking for innovative ways to increase their access to renewable sources.
Now the U.S. Navy is ahead of the pack. The department recently signed an agreement with Western Area Power Administration and Sempra U.S. Gas & Power to commence work on a new expansion to Sempra’s Mesquite solar farm. To date, this investment on behalf of the U.S. Navy has been confirmed as the largest purchase of renewable energy ever made by a U.S. federal entity.
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What does that investment entail? According to a press release from the U.S. Navy, the Mesquite Solar 3 solar power project is an expansion to Sempra’s Arizona-based Mesquite solar farm. This latest expansion will add a 210-megawatt direct current solar facility at the Sempra Mesquite solar site, which will contribute direct power to the following 14 Navy and Marine installations:
- Naval Base (NB) San Diego
- NB Coronado
- NB Point Loma
- NB Ventura County
- Naval Support Activity (NSA) Monterey
- Naval Weapons Station (NWS) Seal Beach
- NWS Det Norco
- NWS Fallbrook
- Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton
- Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center (MCAGCC) 29 Palms
- Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar
- Marine Corps Logistics Base (MCLB) Barstow
- Marine Corps Recruitment Deport (MCRD) San Diego
- Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center (MCMWTC) Bridgeport.
Beyond just supplementing and diversifying its power sources, the U.S. Navy points out that this project will help the department with long-term cost stability. The project will also provide 21 percent of the power needed to reach the department’s goal of procuring one gigawatt of renewable energy by 2015—one goal on the path to the Department of Defense mandate to procure 25 percent of energy from renewable source by 2025.
"The collaboration on Mesquite Solar 3 is a triumph of innovative problem solving, and will help to increase the DON's energy security by diversifying our power portfolio and improving energy efficiency," said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus in a statement released after the ceremony commemorating this partnership. "This agreement is also projected to save the DON at least $90 million over the life of the project."
"The powerful collaboration between all parties made this project possible,” added Ronald Moulton, Area Power Administration Senior Vice President and Desert Southwest Regional Manager. “We look forward to facilitating similar agreements with other Federal agencies, helping them meet their renewable energy goals, and building more partnerships for powering the energy frontier."
Intelliwave SiteSense boosts APTIM material tracking
“We’ve been engaged with the APTIM team since early 2019 providing SiteSense, our mobile construction SaaS solution, for their maintenance and construction projects, allowing them to track materials and equipment, and manage inventory.
We have been working with the APTIM team to standardize material tracking processes and procedures, ultimately with the goal of reducing the amount of time spent looking for materials. Industry studies show that better management of materials can lead to a 16% increase in craft labour productivity.
Everyone knows construction is one of the oldest industries but it’s one of the least tech driven comparatively. About 95% of Engineering and Construction data captured goes unused, 13% of working hours are spent looking for data and around 30% of companies have applications that don’t integrate.
With APTIM, we’re looking at early risk detection, through predictive analysis and forecasting of material constraints, integrating with the ecosystem of software platforms and reporting on real-time data with a ‘field-first’ focus – through initiatives like the Digital Foreman. The APTIM team has seen great wins in the field, utilising bar-code technology, to check in thousands of material items quickly compared to manual methods.
There are three key areas when it comes to successful Materials Management in the software sector – culture, technology, and vendor engagement.
Given the state of world affairs, access to data needs to be off site via the cloud to support remote working conditions, providing a ‘single source of truth’ accessed by many parties; the tech sector is always growing, so companies need faster and more reliable access to this cloud data; digital supply chain initiatives engage vendors a lot earlier in the process to drive collaboration and to engage with their clients, which gives more assurance as there is more emphasis on automating data capture.
It’s been a challenging period with the pandemic, particularly for the supply chain. Look what happened in the Suez Canal – things can suddenly impact material costs and availability, and you really have to be more efficient to survive and succeed. Virtual system access can solve some issues and you need to look at data access in a wider net.
Solving problems comes down to better visibility, and proactively solving issues with vendors and enabling construction teams to execute their work. The biggest cause of delays is not being able to provide teams with what they need.
On average 2% of materials are lost or re-ordered, which only factors in the material cost, what is not captured is the duplicated effort of procurement, vendor and shipping costs, all of which have an environmental impact.
As things start to stabilise, APTIM continues to utilize SiteSense to boost efficiencies and solve productivity issues proactively. Integrating with 3D/4D modelling is just the precipice of what we can do. Access to data can help you firm up bids to win work, to make better cost estimates, and AI and ML are the next phase, providing an eco-system of tools.
A key focus for Intelliwave and APTIM is to increase the availability of data, whether it’s creating a data warehouse for visualisations or increasing integrations to provide additional value. We want to move to a more of an enterprise usage phase – up to now it’s been project based – so more people can access data in real time.