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Ft. Knox is First Military Post in Nation Capable of Providing Electricity to Power All Operations

Ft. Knox is the first military post in the nation with the potential to supply 100-percent of the energy needed to run its operations.

At a ceremony Wednesday, officials demonstrated the results of the post’s Energy Security Project, which converts natural gas beneath the installation into electricity. The post uses a micro-grid to control a group of sub-stations and generators.

“We can power the entire installation independent of the outside utilities,” said Ft. Knox Energy Manager R.J Dyrdek. We make our own water here, and we have our own sewer plants. So with electricity, natural gas, water, and sewer—we were basically able to come off the grid.”

The energy project allows Fort Knox to switch back-and-forth from its own power supply to nearby utility companies, depending on factors such as the cost of electricity.

The project also ensures Fort Knox won’t be affected by power outages that impact the region. The effort was conceived in 2009 when an ice storm left the post and much of the surrounding area without power.

“It was pretty devastating, and Ft. Knox was without power upwards of seven days in some places. So we were driven very clearly by our commander to solved that problem and not let it happen again,” Dyrdek said.

Ft. Knox estimates annual energy cost savings will be at least $8 million. Most of those savings will occur when the post switches over to its own power supply during periods of peak energy demands when premiums are high.

Assistant Secretary of the Army, Katherine Hammack, praised Fort Knox for its efforts at the ceremony, saying the Energy Security Project should be replicated at other military installations throughout the country.

Kevin is the News Director at WKU Public Radio. He has been with the station since 1999, and was previously the Assistant News Director, and also served as local host of Morning Edition.
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