Japanese contractors recently constructed one of the Department of Defense’s first wind turbines in Japan adjacent to Building 1 on Camp Foster.
The turbine, which is expected to be fully operational in mid-April, will generate clean power and help reduce Marine Corps Base Camp Smedley D. Butler’s carbon footprint and utilities bill, according to Tomoko Matsuzaki, an energy engineer with facilities engineers, G-F, Facilities, MCB Camp Butler, Marine Corps Installations Pacific.
“This project has been years in the making, and once it is up and running, it will immediately reduce the amount of power Building 1 pulls from the grid,” said Matsuzaki. “Since the generator converts kinetic energy from the wind into electrical energy, there are no emissions associated with the turbine, making it better for the environment.”
The turbine is capable of generating 10 kilowatt-hours each hour at its peak, which, as an example, would power the fluorescent lights on one floor of Building 1, according to Capt. Steven M. Bancroft, energy and utilities officer in charge with facilities engineers.
“Whenever the wind is blowing and the turbine is operating, energy is being created and Building 1 is pulling less power from the grid,” said Bancroft. “That is better for the environment here on Japan, as it means less power is being used from the traditional power plants, which still have large carbon emissions.”
“In addition to these turbines resulting in more clean energy and lower utility costs for Camp Butler, they are also providing us valuable information for future energy saving projects,” said Matsuzaki. “We have set up monitoring systems with both turbines, so we can see what their short-term and long-term effects are and determine how we want to move forward with planning future projects.”
The turbines represent just one way MCB Camp Butler is working to reduce energy costs and increase the use of green energy.
“We have also applied solar film to many buildings throughout MCB Camp Butler,” said Bancroft. “What that solar film does is reflect sunlight off buildings, so the insides do not get as hot during the day, which means less air conditioning is required to keep the temperature cool and constant.”
“Individuals can still save a lot by remembering to turn off lights and appliances when not in use and close windows and doors when the air conditioning is on,” said Matsuzaki. “These turbines represent a big step forward for us in our continued efforts to be responsible with the taxpayers’ dollars and to the environment here on Okinawa.”