USCG Base Portsmouth Wins Award for Upgraded Infrastructure and First Ever Homeland Security Microgrid Study

Portsmouth, Va. – The United States Coast Guard (USCG) Base Portsmouth Utility Energy Services Contract (UESC) team received the 2016 USCG Sustainability, Energy, and Environmental Readiness (SEER) Award in the Overall Sustainability Category as well as the SEER Team Category for the Energy Track. In early fiscal year 2016, Energy Systems Group (ESG), a leading energy services provider, worked with the Base through Dominion Virginia Power’s (Dominion) UESC program to develop, design, and build the multi-phase UESC-funded project, including the first microgrid feasibility study within the Department of Homeland Security.

“Base Portsmouth is excited to see the completion of construction on our UESC after nearly 10 years of planning for the conversion to natural gas,” said USCG Base Portsmouth Facilities Engineer, Lieutenant Commander Colleen Symansky, adding, “In addition to the USCG UESC team, the work of Dominion and ESG was integral to the successful completion of all energy conservation measures (ECMs) on the project. In just the past few months we’ve seen significant savings in utility and heating costs as well as numerous environmental benefits.”

The UESC project included over $8.4 million in capital improvements and the conversion of multiple boilers to natural gas heating, thereby eliminating the annual consumption of propane and #2 fuel by 11,005 and 111,000 gallons respectively. This allowed for the removal of 16 outmoded above ground storage tanks and eliminated the Base’s requirements to have a Facility Response Plan with the State of Virginia. Further, more than four million gallons of water will be saved annually due to the installation of new water fixtures, while new lighting fixtures will save more than 1,000 man hours of maintenance per year.

The microgrid study completed helps establish a deliberate pathway towards resiliency and energy independence across all of Base Portsmouth’s missions and commands. The UESC installation of a 1.2 megawatt peak shaving generator not only lowers the Base utility rate and supports future microgrid capabilities, it is also associated with new switchgear that improves worker safety and stabilizes commercial electrical power.

“Dominion is pleased to support the United States Coast Guard in new energy infrastructure projects that will increase reliability, resiliency, and efficiency for Base Portsmouth,” stated Eric Tatum, Manager of Federal Energy Solutions at Dominion. “In addition, this project enables Base Portsmouth to reduce operating costs and contribute to mission assurance. We all have a critical role to play in regards to energy conservation measures which will lead to reduced energy consumption by the installation.”

USCG Base Portsmouth’s mission includes coordinating regional mission support activities within the 5th Coast Guard District. The Base is home to 26 tenant commands and provides medical, communication, engineering, and logistical support for more than 160 Coast Guard units in six states and Washington D.C., including six medium-endurance cutters and two buoy tenders homeported at the Base. As such, energy resiliency is a necessary characteristic of its utility infrastructure.

Growing concerns about electric grid vulnerability, uncertainty about the cost of fuel, and the increase in the development of distributed generation, have led many federal agencies and sub-agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S Coast Guard, to reconsider energy security and resiliency strategies for their critical missions and operations at various bases and stations, including Base Portsmouth. U.S Coast Guard Energy Management Policy mandates enhance operations, strengthen fuel logistics reliability and flexibility, as well as enhance energy security in all new energy projects.

“ESG is honored to support the United States Coast Guard and their important mission through the design and installation of energy and water infrastructure upgrades,” said Steve Spanbauer, Senior Vice President of Energy Systems Group. “Helping the Coast Guard and DHS develop a microgrid plan furthers their goal of true energy resilience,” added Spanbauer.  “We applaud the Coast Guard’s innovative contracting approach by which all of the infrastructure improvements and microgrid plan are paid for from savings; this is good for the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. business, and the U.S. taxpayer.”

Energy Systems Group (ESG) is a leading energy services provider that specializes in energy efficiency, sustainability, and infrastructure improvement solutions in the government, education, healthcare, commercial, and industrial sectors. ESG is strongly positioned to develop projects across the full spectrum of federal contracting opportunities, including Energy Savings Performance Contracts with the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. ESG is an industry leader in developing and implementing federal government projects under Utility Energy Services Contracts and through public/private partnerships such as Enhanced Use Leases. ESG also offers a full range of sustainable infrastructure solutions including waste-to-energy, distributed generation, and renewable energy. To learn more about ESG, visit