The senior-most official on Army installations helped to break ground on an $8.4 million energy co-generation plant at a ceremony here on Nov. 7.

Participating in the ceremony with Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army Installation Energy and Environment, Jordon Gillis, were Picatinny’s Senior Commander, Brig. Gen. Alfred Abramson; Garrison Commander, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Ivey, and Senior Vice President of the Federal Business Unit Energy Systems Group, Steven Spanbauer.

The new facility will help the arsenal become more energy efficient and resilient by providing two megawatts of baseline electricity for its power grid and steam for heating and for mission processes.

“This $8.4 million, 2-megawatt co-generation facility is one project of seven, totaling near $17 million,” said Ivey, Picatinny Arsenal Garrison Commander. “Each project is energy efficient, will bring energy savings, and make our installation more energy independent by reducing our dependency on outside sources.

“It will provide us a sustainable source of energy and is one step of many in helping us reach our goal of sustaining critical missions,” Ivey continued.

 “We are exceptionally excited and looking forward to the timely construction of this facility and we are looking forward to competing for our eighth Secretary of the Army award for energy efficiency.”

The co-generation design of the facility improves energy efficiency by using natural gas to power an electricity generator and to generate steam on site.

The steam is produced from the generator’s waste heat, and it is utilized in an existing distribution system. Picatinny’s mission processes have a year-round need for steam energy.

The project also supports the Army’s directives for energy security. Picatinny’s energy resiliency is improved by having the capability to generate electricity and steam for critical operations on site in the event of a loss of grid electricity.

“As we consider the continuation of shrinking budgets in the Army and priorities for readiness and our deployed forces, the installation management community must continue to seek innovative, timely, and creative ways to operate,” said Abramson.

“Installations are the Army’s platforms in readiness, providing mission and training areas, facilities, and infrastructure that prepare our Army and our warfighters for its ultimate challenges,” the general said.

“They provide essential services for Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Civilians, as well as Family members to live and work in a safe environment.”

The Army is acquiring the seven energy-related projects under a modification to an existing Energy Savings Performance Contract. In an ESPC, projects are funded with the energy savings gained from having a more efficient infrastructure.

Construction management and financing is provided by Energy Systems Group, a third-party partner.

Picatinny Arsenal will receive a $2 million incentive from the State of New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program for the co-generation project.

Picatinny has achieved, over the years, seven Secretary of the Army Awards for Energy Efficiency, one Secretary of the Army Award for Water Efficiency, as well as other federal awards for energy and water efficiency.

The co-generation plant will be another component of the energy program at Picatinny which also includes solar energy and improvements to reduce energy use.

Projects to reduce electricity usage by installing more-efficient LED lighting and lighting controls are also in progress.