Army energy systems are vulnerable to cyber attacks, progressively sophisticated enemy weapons, and increasingly frequent and severe weather events. As potential threats to energy, water, and land resources continue to grow in scope and complexity, the Army is working to move beyond energy projects that just increase options or save money, instead focusing on resilience.
Home to the Army Human Resource Command Center and a high school, in addition to its famous gold vault, Fort Knox has a power grid that supports about 2,000 facilities, including 1,500 homes. In 2014, Fort Knox completed a $60 million energy project in which four of six gas-fired Cat® G3520C generator sets provide power to the base through a combined heat and power (CHP) system. The installation also includes ten Cat 3516 diesel generator sets, which are used primarily for backup power.
Six (6) Cat® gas generator sets and 10 Cat diesel generator sets were installed on the 109 thousand acre base Ft. Knox. These units provide 44 Mw of peak load power that are used for backup power, combined heat and power, and peak shaving.
In fall 2014, Fort Knox completed a $60 million energy project to supply power 24/7 to the base through a cogeneration system.
With potential threats to energy growing in scope and complexity, the Army is focusing on projects that incorporate resilience, including microgrids and cogeneration systems.
Cat® G3520C generator sets, fueled by natural gas reserves found underneath Fort Knox, provide prime and backup power to the U.S. Army base, which can now operate off the public grid in the event of an emergency.
Cat service and support from local dealer Whayne Power Systems
When the project was developed, the conclusion was that CHP was the most eﬀective way to give Fort Knox both the energy security and energy savings that it needs.
Cat G3520C natural gas-fueled generator
CHP is the most effective way to deliver the energy security the base needs in addition to energy savings, with energy costs reduced by an estimated $5.5 to $6 million each year. Plus, the system allows Fort Knox to run independently from the grid during an emergency for an indefinite amount of time.
Aside from the fact that they were the right fit for the project, Cat generators were selected due to their reputation for durability as well as the close proximity to the resources of the local Cat dealer, Boyd Power Systems in Louisville.
According to Greg Lee, president and CEO of Nolin Rural Electric Cooperative Corp., the utility privatization contractor at Fort Knox, “The thing to keep in mind is that anything could happen, but we are reasonably prepared and have a contingency for just about anything we can think of.”
In 2018, Fort Knox engineers successfully completed an energy resilience test, which gave them confidence that the system works as designed.