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Fort Knox Can Now Operate Entirely Off the Electric Grid

Creative Commons

Fort 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.

Fort Knox Energy Manager R.J Dyrdek said the effort began in 2009, when a major ice storm hit the region.

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

Dyrdek said the post uses a micro-grid to control a group of sub-stations and generators “and basically power the entire installation independent of the outside utilities.”

Fort Knox was already set up to make its own water and treat its own sewage. Now, with the new natural gas and electric infrastructure the post can be entirely off the grid, if necessary.

The 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.

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.