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27 Aug 14. Minnesota Power and the Minnesota National Guard will join forces to build a major solar energy project at Camp Ripley, the largest military base in Minnesota. Duluth-based Minnesota Power, a division of ALLETE, Inc., and the Minnesota National Guard today signed a memorandum of understanding outlining plans to build a 10-megawatt utility-scale solar energy array at the central Minnesota camp. The project will be the largest solar energy installation on military property in the state. The utility will also identify ways to help Camp Ripley reduce its energy usage by 30 percent and install backup generation for energy security. Minnesota Power has been the energy provider to Camp Ripley, located near Little Falls, for decades. The 53,000-acre regional training facility was established in 1856. The solar project envisioned by Minnesota Power and the Guard, subject to regulatory approval, would cover nearly 100 acres of underutilized government property at the Camp with photovoltaic panels on racks. Minnesota National Guard Maj. Gen. Richard C. Nash said the Guard and Camp Ripley specifically, have long looked for ways to increase their environmental stewardship. The solar farm and backup generation will be designed and constructed to allow Camp Ripley to use the energy produced by the project during infrequent periods when the electric grid is down, providing enhanced energy security for the military site, which benefits all Minnesotans. At 10 megawatts, it will be among Minnesota’s largest single-site solar arrays, producing more electricity than the base normally requires. During non-emergency operation the solar energy produced would flow into Minnesota Power’s electric service territory, which encompasses 26,000 square miles in central and northern Minnesota. Projected to cost $25m, the solar energy project could be completed in the 2015-2016 time frame. Minnesota Power has been evaluating solar generation projects that will help the company comply with a solar energy standard enacted in 2013 by the Minnesota Legislature. The law requires the company to procure 1.5 percent of non-exempt energy from solar resources in a manner consistent with Minnesota Power’s integrated resource planning while providing competitive electric rates to customers. (Source: Yahoo!/BUSINESS WIRE)
27 Aug 14. US and Chilean navies commit to further biofuel research. The US Navy and the Chilean Navy have agreed to continue their mutual research on advanced alternative fuels for power surface vessels and navy aircraft, strengthening the US military’s lead in extending the use of renewable energy. Extending the four-year collaboration, the latest agreement enables both nations to boost energy security and deliver an increased certainty of energy supply and cost. Both nations are also cutting their reliance on imported fuel. The US Navy aims to have 50% of overall organisational use powered by alternative energy resources by 2020, while Chile plans to have 45% of its newly deployed capacity for 2014-2025 derived from non-conventional, renewable energy sources. Chilean undersecretary of defense Marcos Robledo and US secretary of the navy Ray Mabus said in a joint statement: “The United States Department of the Navy, recognising that energy security is directly tied to military capability, is moving toward the sustained use of a 50 / 50 blended biofuel / petroleum product, and encourages its military partners to work toward certification of their aviation and maritime assets to use this blended product to ensure interoperability between respective navies is maintained.” In addition, the Chilean Navy has conducted a range of workshops since 2011 on particular projects related to the use of biofuels to power navy vessels. Both navies will explore further collaboration on alternative fuels res