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Air Force awards ERCIP contract for Ascension Island

Ascension Island Airfield wind turbines

Ascension Island Airfield, a British territory more than 5,000 miles southeast of Patrick Space Force Base, Florida, and about 500 miles south of the equator, will receive energy infrastructure upgrades through an ERCIP contract that includes the replacement of six wind turbines with a single 900 Kwhr wind turbine generator. The renewable energy resource will supplement generator production and provide an alternate energy source if fuel resources are disrupted. (Courtesy photo)

Graphic outlining ERCIP project at Ascension Island Airfield.

Highlights of the Energy Resilience and Conservation Invest Program project recently awarded at Ascension Island Airfield, a British territory more than 5,000 miles southeast of Patrick Space Force Base, Florida, and about 500 miles south of the equator. The airfield will receive energy infrastructure upgrades through an ERCIP contract that includes the replacement of six wind turbines with a single 900 Kwhr wind turbine generator. The renewable energy resource will supplement generator production and provide an alternate energy source if fuel resources are disrupted. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Courtney Combs)

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – Ascension Island Auxiliary Airfield will receive energy resilience infrastructure improvements through an Energy Resilience and Conservation Investment Program contract awarded last month by the 45th Space Launch Delta Civil Engineer and Contracting squadrons.

The $11.3 million contract, awarded to Jade Creek Construction, LLC, is a collaborative effort between the Air Force Civil Engineer Center, SLD 45 and Ascension Island AAF to support mission assurance through energy assurance. The airfield is operated by the Department of the Air Force and used by the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force. The outpost supports a variety of critical missions for 14 individual military, governmental and international agencies. 

“This ERCIP project is made possible through the coordination and teamwork of the U.S. Space Force and U.S. Air Force, including Space Launch Delta 45 Mission Support Squadrons, AFCEC, Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center and AAAF installation personnel,” said Christopher Vidal, Patrick Space Force Base energy manager. “This is the first ERCIP project for Space Launch Delta 45 which incorporates both renewable and energy storage technology, and it positions the installation to meet energy reduction and resiliency goals in the near future.”

The work includes the replacement of six non-functional wind turbine generators with a single 900 kW WTG, a Battery Energy Storage System and an upgraded Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition system. The generator uses a renewable resource that will supplement primary power plant production and provides an alternate energy source if fuel resources are disrupted. 

The battery-based energy storage system, or BESS, will act as instantaneous backup for the existing diesel engine generators should one of them fail. The BESS will connect to the existing electrical generation and distribution system, along with the upgraded SCADA system, ensuring seamless and efficient monitoring and operation of the overall utility generation system.
 
“Ascension Island is currently 100% dependent on diesel generation for electrical power with all fuel shipped to the island,” said Robbie Marcucci, ERCIP program manager. “The project will extend support for mission critical operations by maximizing fuel reserve capacity in the event of fuel supply shortages or interruptions.”

The effort is expected to reduce annual fuel consumption by 15% to 20% of the installation’s total electrical demand. Construction is expected to be complete in early 2023.  

“Ascension Island plays a significant role in the U.S. Space Force mission in the Eastern Range, and we prioritize continuous utility operation improvements and efficient use of the resources delivered to the Island,” said Vidal.

The ERCIP program is a critical element of the defense-wide military construction program for installations to improve energy resilience, energy security and energy conservation. It provides opportunities for installations to produce and utilize clean renewable energy among other conservation measures to reduce energy demand and carbon footprints. To date, AFCEC has collaborated with contracting groups to develop and award more than $405.6 million in energy resilience and savings contracts since 2004.

Installations interested in pursuing energy projects can visit the CAC-enabled web site for the Office of Energy Assurance at https://portal.afcec.hedc.af.mil/Storefront/SitePages/Home.aspx.