New England News Releases

USACE hosts open house August 1 in Oxford, Mass., for Hodges Village Dam Master Plan revision
7/5/2024 UPDATED
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District will host an open house August 1, 2024, in Oxford, Mass., to kick off a process to revise the 1976 Hodges Village Dam Master Plan for the Hodges...
USACE hosts open house July 31 in Monson, Mass., for Conant Brook Dam Master Plan revision
7/5/2024 UPDATED
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District will host an open house July 31, 2024, in Monson, Mass., to kick off a process to revise the 1998 Conant Brook Dam Master Plan for the Conant...
USACE hosts open house July 30 in Uxbridge, Mass., for West Hill Dam Master Plan revision
7/5/2024 UPDATED
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District will host an open house July 30, 2024, in Uxbridge, Mass., to kick off a process to revise the 2011 West Hill Dam Master Plan for the West Hill...

Top Rotator

Local bird watchers descended upon West Hill Dam armed with pen, paper and a few binoculars to participate in West Hill Dam’s annual Backyard Bird Count.
Construction of the System Management Engineering Facility (SMEF), the 40,000 square foot, 2-story addition, is well underway and progressing rapidly.
For vessels wanting to enter Plymouth waters, dredging to remove shoals from the Plymouth Harbor federal navigation project in Massachusetts is currently underway and on schedule.

News From Around the Corps

ERDC breaks ground on new Permafrost Tunnel Operations Facility
6/26/2024
The U.S. Army Engineer and Research Development Center (ERDC) broke ground June 25 on its new Permafrost Tunnel Operations Facility, a 4,300 square-foot building that will contribute to significant...
Norfolk District invites public to virtual change of command ceremony July 12
6/27/2024
NORFOLK, Va. – Col. Sonny B. Avichal will assume command of the Norfolk District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in a change of command ceremony scheduled for 10 a.m. July 12 at the Norfolk Waterside...
USACE Design Branch Chief earns Connolly Award
6/27/2024
SAVANNAH, Ga. – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District, Design Branch Chief, Kate Dixon, was presented the 2024 James Connolly Award during the Society of American Military Engineers...

Feature Stories

New England District proposing solar array at Cape Cod Canal

USACE, New England District
Published April 3, 2017
Solar panel arrays form a canopy at a construction site in Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif., March 12, 2013. The construction site is for phase 1 and 2 of a solar microgrid project at the installation, managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District. Phase 1 was completed in April 2012 and generates one megawatt of power, enough energy to power 250 to 300 homes. Phase 2, scheduled for completion in May 2013, will generate an additional one megawatt of power and is expected to be the second of four at the post. The Sacramento District awarded contracts of $8.4 million for phase I and $9.7 million for phase 2. Along with the energy production, the cover provided by the panel arrays will shade the majority of the post’s vehicles. Fort Hunter Liggett is one of six pilot installations selected by the U.S. Army to be net zero energy, meaning the installation will create as much energy as it uses.

Solar panel arrays form a canopy at a construction site in Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif., March 12, 2013. The construction site is for phase 1 and 2 of a solar microgrid project at the installation, managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District. Phase 1 was completed in April 2012 and generates one megawatt of power, enough energy to power 250 to 300 homes. Phase 2, scheduled for completion in May 2013, will generate an additional one megawatt of power and is expected to be the second of four at the post. The Sacramento District awarded contracts of $8.4 million for phase I and $9.7 million for phase 2. Along with the energy production, the cover provided by the panel arrays will shade the majority of the post’s vehicles. Fort Hunter Liggett is one of six pilot installations selected by the U.S. Army to be net zero energy, meaning the installation will create as much energy as it uses.

A team of New England District personnel is working on a proposed project with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Headquarters and the Huntsville Engineering Support Center that would reduce the carbon footprint of the Cape Cod Canal in Bourne, Massachusetts and the New Bedford Hurricane Barrier in New Bedford, Massachusetts. The New England District proposes to lease approximately six acres at the Cape Cod Canal for the installation of a solar array via a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).  This would be the first Civil Works renewable energy PPA within USACE.  Both the Canal and the New Bedford Hurricane Barrier will be connected to the solar energy grid. 

“The solar array will be constructed approximately halfway between the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges on the Cape Cod side of the canal,” said Lindsay Flieger, Sustainability Program Coordinator for New England District.  “The project will require 5-6 acres of land and will provide 680kW of power.”

According to Erika Mark, Project Manager, USACE Headquarters provided the funding to do the feasibility work such as real estate, NEPA and environmental baseline conditions, but the District will not be paying for the array itself. 

“The third party vendor who wins the bid for this contract will pay for installation, operation and maintenance costs,” she said.  “There are no out-of-pocket costs for USACE as the array will be fully funded by the vendor and the District benefits by paying a discounted rate on our power.”

In 2007, Congress mandated the federal government to acquire 25-percent of its energy needs through renewable resources by 2025, according to Mark.  Flieger said the Canal and NBHB, the District’s second largest energy user, have had several energy-saving initiatives introduced over the last few years. These initiatives included replacing the lighting along the Canal and on the Bourne Bridge with LED lights and making the maintenance building a high performance sustainable building.  Despite all these efforts, the Canal still uses a huge amount of energy. 

“New England District enlisted the support of Huntsville to assess the canal and determine what type of large scale renewable energy project would be the best fit,” she said.

The team visited the Canal in 2014 and determined a solar panel array would be the best method.  “The Power Purchase Agreement method was also determined as the best way to make the project a reality,” said Flieger.  “The solar array will provide 100-percent of the power to the Cape Cod Canal and the New Bedford Hurricane Barrier.”

Mark said the Canal's and the hurricane barrier's energy needs would be covered on days when solar power might not be an option.  “Both will be on solar power most of the time; however, this is New England and we have some pretty grim winters,” she said.  “If there isn’t sun, or it's night and they’re not producing power, we will still have access to a power grid as a backup.”

The Canal and the hurricane barrier will be running on solar power as soon as the array is installed and online, according to Mark.

Flieger said because the District will be the first to have an agreement of this kind, the team will compile a summary of the process, tools and lessons learned into a guidance document for other districts who wish to implement something similar.  The New England District team members on the Cape Cod Canal Solar Power PPA project are:  Erika Mark, Megan Burke,  Anne Kosel, Mary Mason, Rose Schmidt, Grace Moses, Kate Atwood, Jeff Teller, Scott Barr and Eric Pedersen.


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