Misawa breaks ground on new natural gas plant, energy savings cut costs

A graphic display of the liquid natural gas plant sits in a room at Misawa Air Base, Japan, May 15, 2019. Members of the 35th Civil Engineer Squadron worked to create the largest U.S. Pacific Air Forces Energy Savings Performance Contract. This project will change how Misawa Air Base expends energy. (U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Jeremy E. Garcia)
A graphic display of the liquid natural gas plant sits in a room at Misawa Air Base, Japan, May 15, 2019. Members of the 35th Civil Engineer Squadron worked to create the largest U.S. Pacific Air Forces Energy Savings Performance Contract. This project will change how Misawa Air Base expends energy. (U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Jeremy E. Garcia)

Misawa breaks ground on new natural gas plant, energy savings cut costs

by 1st Lt. Jeremy Garcia
35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- Members of the 35th Civil Engineer Squadron held a ground breaking ceremony for a new liquid natural gas plant as part of the Energy Savings Performance Contract at Misawa Air Base, Japan, May 15.

“The liquid natural gas plant will be beneficial to Misawa AB and the key component in this $207 million project,” said Master Sgt. Christopher Forgey, the 35th CES base energy manager. “This project allows us to redefine how the 35th Fighter Wing uses its budget on utilities while revamping the way our base expends energy.”

Misawa AB currently uses diesel fuel as its main source of energy, spending nearly $32 million annually to power the installation. The natural gas plant will cut these costs to nearly half that amount, aiding the wing’s budget for utilities.

Not only will this updated infrastructure advance technologies and ensure a readiness posture for the future, but it includes operational improvements as well. The program enhances the hardened aircraft shelters by implementing new infrared heating and thawing systems. This new source of energy creates a safer and more efficient environment because it is easier to maintain and minimizes safety risks.

The U.S.-Japan security alliance remains one of the Misawa AB’s top priorities. Reducing the installations impact on local infrastructure improves relations and prepares the base and city for potential natural disasters.

“This project is important because we are given the opportunity to provide clean energy with the use of natural gas and a solar plant farm families on base and in the Misawa City community,” said Staff Sgt. Jamieanne Josiah, the 35th CES engineering project manager. “It is the largest clean energy project in the U.S. Pacific Air Forces.”

This project plays a key role in maintaining Team Misawa’s resiliency in case of emergencies. The liquid gas plant can withstand earthquake aftermath for nearly two weeks, allowing operations to continue, even if Misawa City lost its main energy source.

“The project is slated for completion by summer 2020 and we look forward to improving the base by minimizing costs and harnessing energy resiliency,” said Forgey.

It’s infrastructure projects like this new natural gas plant that unite allies and partners over mutual values, interests, and security, while collaborating to improve interoperability and creates a region postured for success for years to come.

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