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February 13, 2020

Kittery shipyard hires Mass. company to build $58M power plant

Courtesy / Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, in Kittery, will add a 7.5-megawatt power plant to its onsite energy production system.

Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery will build a new $58 million heating and power plant, and has hired a Massachusetts company to do it.

The Navy has contracted with Ameresco Inc. (NYSE: AMRC) to develop a 7.5-megawatt plant at the yard, supplementing the current 14 MW onsite generation facility, according to a news release Wednesday.

In addition to new energy production capability, the project includes a 1 MW battery energy storage system, upgrades to the yard’s power distribution system and microgrid controls, and a new 800-horsepower steam-driven air compressor. The air compressor will serve the yard’s extensive needs for industrial compressed air using “free” steam cogenerated by the plant.

Ameresco said the additional capacity will strengthen the energy security of the sprawling, 300-acre Kittery shipyard, one of four Navy yards in the country.

“By extending our partnership with PNSY to increase onsite generation, deploy energy storage, and integrate a broad range of generation assets into a fully independent microgrid, we will ensure that the shipyard is able to continue providing high-quality service to Navy’s fleet,” said Nicole Bulgarino, the company’s executive vice president and general manager of federal solutions.  

Ameresco, based in Framingham, Mass., expects construction to be completed in 2022, and has also been contracted to operate and maintain the system until 2044.

The company said the project will generate $175 million in guaranteed cost savings over the life of that contract. Because the savings allow the project to leverage third-party financing, the Navy will not have to pay up-front construction costs.

The power plant is the latest in a series of construction and renovation projects getting underway at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, which has been criticized — along with the other Navy yards — for having obsolete facilities. Recent contracts include one for the $158 million modernization of a dry dock and other infrastructure, awarded in November to Cianbro Corp. of Pittsfield.

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