The Crossroads of Special Operations

Sunday, June 13, 2021

AFSPC uses wind to power PAVE PAWS

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By [email protected] (Kevin Elliott)

A wind turbine at Cape Cod Air Force Station, part of Joint Base Cape Cod, Mass., is partially powering one of the largest ground-based missile warning radars in the United States.

The 6th Space Warning Squadron at JBCC operates the Phased Array Warning System, named PAVE PAWS. The radar operates around the clock and has a 3,000-mile reach down the east coast and over the Atlantic Ocean.

Although its main purpose is to detect submarine-launched ballistic missiles, PAVE PAWS also tracks satellites in low-Earth orbit. To achieve this range, the radar requires massive amounts of energy, amounting to a $1.6 million annual electric bill.

“We are one of the largest energy consumers on the Cape,” said Stephen Mellin, support officer for the squadron. “Most of the energy used on the site is directly related to the radar itself.”

In an effort to reduce its energy intensity, the 6th SWS partnered with Air Force Space Command and the Air Force Civil Engineer Center to install two 1.68 megawatt wind turbines on the site.

“Cape Cod is a really good place to put wind turbines,” Mellin said. “Our wind resources are some of the best in the country.”

The energy produced by the turbines is sold directly to the local utility company and, in return, the 6th SWS receives energy credits back on its bill.

“In the first six months of operation, the project generated $668,068 in credits,” said Fox Theriault, energy analyst at AFSPC. “When you look at this project and the money it is saving, the impact is huge. Projects like this help us achieve energy goals with visible savings.”

The $8.5 million project was funded by the energy conservation investment program, a subset of the military construction program. ECIP was created to fund military projects that save or produce energy on military sites, thus reducing Department of Defense energy costs.

The payback period for the PAVE PAWS wind turbine is 8 to10 years. The lifespan of the turbine is twice that.

…read more

Source:: Air Force Space Command

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