FORT SILL, Okla. (TNN) - Public Service Company of Oklahoma has signed a 30-year lease with the U.S. Army to house an energy resilience project on Fort Sill.
The project will provide clean energy to the Lawton/Fort Sill community through the use of solar panels and RICE engines, which produce power through natural gas.
“This is a real win-win opportunity, this kind of collaboration,” said Michael McGhee, executive director of the Army Office of Energy Initiatives. “Our nation needs new infrastructure investment. It needs recapitalization of existing infrastructure, and the power industry in particular is experiencing a lot of transformative change. So this kind of project is a way that we can work together to get additional value, benefit out of an investment that needs to be made.”
The project could also deliver power to sustain Fort Sill for at least 14 days if a disaster were to occur.
“We want to make sure that our Army, but also the rest of our military partners, can all continue to perform their mission unabated,” said McGhee. “Fort Sill is undeniably also a major economic center and economic impact opportunity for folks there at Lawton. They would like to have a place to go to do their jobs and continue to work if there were some sort of a long term grid outage. So, there’s additional wins in there, as well, we think.”
“The neat thing is the combination of the two and in conjunction with the Army to where now we’re supporting their mission readiness, their resiliency,” said Micah Burdge, energy services program manager at PSO. “So that’s the really interesting part of it, is that combination between us and the Army and the new technology that we’re bringing there.”
Construction will begin after the project is approved by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.
“Construction of the project would begin sometime probably in the fall 2021 time frame, with operation of the solar plant being available in 2022 and the RICE plant, as it’s called, in 2024,” said McGhee. “So we still have a few years before you would see actual delivery of the capability and the power to the served customer.”
In the meantime, PSO and the Army are working together to select the right bid for the project.
This is the Army’s third project relating to energy, with one of them notably at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii.