From Frank Whitman, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Marianas Public Affairs
TUMON, Guam (NNS) -- Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Marianas utility experts participated in the Eighth Annual Island Sustainability Conference hosted by the University of Guam on April 19 at the Hyatt Regency Guam.
Military presenters focused on updating the group on accomplishments in achieving sustainable utilities for the entire island, and underscored the Navy's commitment to One Guam through improvements to Guam's water and power systems.
NAVFAC Marianas Commanding Officer Capt. Stephanie Jones emphasized the importance of the cooperative One Guam approach they have established for addressing critical issues impacting the island's water and power systems.
"We are striving to achieve reliable and resilient power and water systems for Guam," said Jones, who participated as a panel member alongside partners from the Guam Power Authority (GPA) and Guam Waterworks Authority (GWA), which focused on sustainable utilities. "This is best accomplished through our continued work with GPA and GWA to find creative solutions to resolve critical utility issues facing the island."
The One Guam initiative is playing a vital role in GPA's progress toward its goal of providing 25 percent of its energy with renewable sources, according to John Benavente, GPA general manager. "We both recognize that we cannot be installing renewable energy projects without understanding that the grid is only one," he said. "That really puts us together to work on the One Guam solution, which we have been working diligently toward."
Desiree Masterson, regional energy program manager for NAVFAC Marianas, gave a presentation on the Navy Regional Energy Master Plans during a conference breakout session. She noted that, over the past five years, military installations on Guam have successfully competed for the Navy's energy funds, resulting in over $90 million in energy projects.
"We had a huge push in the past two years from the Secretary of the Navy to install renewable energy projects worldwide," she said. "We coordinated with GPA and this partnership has resulted in Guam now being a part of the Navy renewable program."
With the number of energy projects on island the Secretary of the Navy looked at Guam specifically and said, 'I want to do this energy plan here first as a model for the rest of the Navy,' according to Masterson. "The plan being formulated is to establish a plan of action to meet energy goals through 2035. In addition to sustainability, the plans address resiliency, security, renewable energy projects and efficiency."
The Navy's participation at the conference is vital. "The military is a big part of our island," said Austin Shelton III, assistant professor and associate director, UOG Center for Island Sustainability (CIS). "We're really happy and appreciative that Capt. Jones and others took the time to come to the conference and be part of the conversation that needs to happen around sustainability."
The Navy has participated in the CIS conference since its inception in 2009.