The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District is proposing to lease up to approximately 6 acres of Federal, government-owned property in Bourne, Mass., to a private sector entity for the development, operation and maintenance of a solar photovoltaic (PV) System. The energy produced by the solar PV system would provide the Cape Cod Canal Field Office and the New Bedford Hurricane Protection Barrier a reliable source of renewable energy.
In the 2007 National Defense Authorization Act, Congress mandated that the Federal Government acquire 25 percent of its energy needs through renewable sources by 2025. In response to this mandate, the Secretary of the Army established in September 2011 the Army Energy Initiative Task Force (now named Office of Energy Initiatives). The OEI’s goal is to implement cost-effective, large-scale renewable energy projects, 10 megawatts or greater at U.S. Army installations.
The purpose of the solar project is to provide the Cape Cod Canal (and its associated infrastructure) and the New Bedford Hurricane Barrier (NBHB) with a secure and reliable renewable energy source. Both the Canal and NBHB are currently supplied with electricity from private sources. It is projected that the solar project will save the government about $180,000 annually after implementation. Currently no percentage of electrical power purchased by the Corps for the Canal or the NBHB comes from renewable energy sources.
The Corps identified two potential parcels of land along the Cape Cod Canal known as “Sagamore” and “Midway” sites that met the technical requirements for a solar PV system. These two parcels are Corps-owned properties. After preliminary investigations, the Midway site was selected for the solar project.
The proposed work is being coordinated with local, state and federal agencies: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management; Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection; Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program; Massachusetts Historical Commission; the Mashpee Tribe; the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah); and the Town of Bourne.
An Environmental Assessment for the installation of the solar PV system is being prepared and will be available for review upon request.