Philadelphia's Navy Yard maps its energy future


When the Navy started closing bases in the 1990s, one of them was the country's oldest naval shipyard in Philadelphia. Today you'd never know it. In addition to being a vibrant mixed use campus, the 1,200-acre site now known as The Navy Yard is an R&D hub where energy innovation is front and center.

And while the site's first energy master plan crafted a decade ago was ambitious, the latest version marks what officials call "the beginning of a new era" for the private electric grid that serves the site. (The grid is managed by the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp. -- the city-wide economic development corporation - and operated by DTE Energy.)

Industry heavyweights including Alstom Grid, Burns Engineering, ICF International and Viridity Energy provided expertise and analysis for The Navy Yard's 10-year Energy Master Plan (EMP), which envisions a substantial investment in capacity growth and grid modernization. That's to accommodate the continuing expansion of the campus which today houses 143 companies. Navy Yard officials view the electric grid as an asset that helps woo businesses.

The EMP sets out an energy agenda that utilities may want to check in on as it progresses. Future plans include everything from integrating alternative power sources to implementing dynamic time-of-use tariffs as well as energy efficiency and demand reduction incentives. Access to regional electricity markets is also envisioned.

The plan also calls out some key goals:

·         Providing sufficient, sustainable, reliable power for Navy Yard owners and tenants

·         Keeping power rates cost-competitive within the region

·         Establishing a self-supporting business model for the grid

·         Customer engagement to design energy choices that promote energy efficiency

·         Offering a flexible resource firms can use to test and pilot energy controls and devices in a viable commercial environment

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