Science and Technology News

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

AFGSC energy group visits local power plant

by Carla Pampe
Air Force Global Strike Command Public Affairs

1/9/2013 - SHREVEPORT, La. -- Members of the Air Force Global Strike Command Energy Management Steering Group toured the Southwestern Electric Power Company's Arsenal Hill Power Plant Jan. 8 in Shreveport, La.

"As we stood up the EMSG, our first tasker from the Air Force was to reduce energy consumption throughout the command," said Maj. Gen. Everett Thomas, AFGSC vice commander. "We are accomplishing that goal, but with the continuing focus on energy conservation in the Air Force, it is important for us to work with our partners in the community to learn how they operate and to look for new and innovative ways to save energy."

During the tour, the group observed first-hand how a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition system works. SCADA systems can be used to monitor and control things like power generation and transmission, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems and energy consumption. Similar systems can be found on several AFGSC bases, with plans to install them on all AFGSC bases in the future.

The group also visited the generation and distribution control centers, learning how the power plant generates and distributes energy to communities in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas.

The Arsenal Hill Power Plant is the oldest in the SWEPCO system, with the first unit coming on line in 1926. The existing natural gas-fueled Arsenal Hill Unit 5 was placed in service in 1960.

Russ Gedeon, manager of regional engineering and power plant operations for SWEPCO, told the group that while a combined-cycle natural gas unit began commercial operation adjacent to the plant in 2010, much like AFGSC's B-52 bombers and Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles, the main plant still has a lot of 1960s-era technology, and it can be a challenge to find some parts for a system that is more than 50 years old.

Thomas noted other similarities between SWEPCO and the command.

"I heard them talk about three things today that we all understand," he said. "The first was developing a culture - building behavior over time. The second was the discipline of the people they have, and the other was the compliance they demand of their workers. AFGSC is a compliance command, so we understand that very well."

For this tour, the EMSG paired with members of the Red River Post of the Society of American Military Engineers.

"SAME is a professional military engineering association uniting architecture, engineering, construction, facility management and environmental entities and individuals in the public and private sectors to prepare for--and overcome--natural and manmade disasters and to improve security at home and abroad," said Lt. Col. Eric Warner, AFGSC Energy Branch Chief and president of the Red River Post of SAME. "Power production and control directly ties to the SAME mission as well as the EMSG's goals to stimulate energy conservation across the command. Our tour today helped cement the already great bonds we in the military have with our civilian engineer counterparts."

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