By Sue Brink, NAVFAC Southeast Public Affairs Office
Jacksonville, Fla. (NNS) -- Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Southeast hosted over 100 energy experts and Navy leaders Nov. 5 in Jacksonville, Fla. to talk about a challenging energy project for Naval Station (NS) Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The focus of this meeting was to hear from energy industry leaders on what creative ideas they could suggest to meet the needs of infrastructure upgrades needed at NS Guantanamo Bay.
"We are here for an open dialogue today," said Rear Adm. Mary Jackson, commander, Navy Region Southeast, as she welcomed everyone in attendance. "All of our installations are unique, but Naval Station Guantanamo Bay is perhaps the most unique. With its remote setting and location within the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) area of responsibility, Guantanamo Bay must be completely self sufficient."
"We are thinking outside the box and looking for the experts to provide us creative solutions," said NAVFAC Deputy Public Works Business Line Leader Capt. Kathryn Donovan to the contractors in attendance. "We are not looking for a cookie cutter outcome. This is a very exciting opportunity that will be a long-term relationship with one of you."
Examples of projects include photovoltaic, waste to energy, energy efficient generator power and automated controls.
"We cannot continue to do business the same way," said Donovan. "We are open to being creative, holistic and innovative, shockingly innovative, but we still need to look at economic payback and cash flow. It has to be economical in its life."
The Navy will not be specifying what they want, they want industry to make recommendations based on their knowledge and expertise.
"This may be the largest capital investment the Navy has made in many years to the infrastructure of one of its bases," said Donovan.
The island of NS Guantanamo Bay is a constrained environment. Supplies are transported by barge, there is no outside support, the island supplies its own water, electricity, and waste removal.
"Naval Station Guantanamo Bay is in a strategic location being the only U.S. base in the Navy's SOUTHCOM," said Capt. John Nettleton, NS Guantanamo Bay's commanding officer. "It is a storm safe haven situated on an active fault line and in the hurricane corridor."
The environment is harsh on everything from sun damage and sea salt spray.
"We have a lot of systemic issues such as having items being shipped to the island by barge or the expense of flying fruits and vegetables by plane," explained Nettleton. "We have huge logistics challenges here."
Contractors looking at working in NS Guantanamo Bay will have many challenges and will need to plan way ahead. Compared to Jacksonville, Fla., things can be up to five times more expensive.
"Normally, the Navy puts its requirements out for bid and reviews proposals based on criteria set for the individual project," said Donovan. "This time, we want to take a holistic look at how to best proceed."
"The infrastructure has been piece-mealed for a long time. There is a lot of work to be done," said Nettleton.
"We are good citizens of the world and will act as such during this process," said Lynn Torres, contracting officer, NAVFAC's Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center.
The Navy's goal is to improve NS Guantanamo Bay's infrastructure, be energy efficient and continue to meet mission requirements.
Donovan closed stating, "This is America at its best. Be innovative, bring us your creative ideas and thank you all for taking the time to come out and listen to what the Navy is looking at doing for this partnership."