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Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs


VA Conducts Renewable Energy Studies

April 22, 2010, 08:00:00 AM

Printable Version

WASHINGTON – In support of ongoing renewable energy initiatives, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has conducted studies evaluating the potential use of renewable fuels in energy plants supplying 38 VA medical centers around the country.  

   “We expect this to lead to exciting opportunities for VA to reduce its environmental footprint,” Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki said.  “These feasibility studies will help our efforts in VA’s transition to clean, renewable energy sources.”

The studies were completed in January 2010 for the 38 medical centers, located in 15 states and Puerto Rico.  VA selected these sites based on factors including availability of renewable fuels, energy plant characteristics and local utility rates.  

The findings will help VA determine the ideal locations for renewably fueled energy plants, while ensuring cost savings in the long run.  

Renewable fuels under consideration include methane gas from landfills (biogas) and agricultural waste such as decaying trees and landscape waste, scrap wood and wheat or corn stalks (biomass).  

Along with renewable fuels, the studies assessed the potential for updating VA’s existing energy plants to incorporate combined heat and power, or cogeneration, technologies.  Cogeneration is an energy-efficient system that simultaneously produces electricity and steam, hot water or chilled water.  VA already has a renewably fueled cogeneration system at the Mountain Home VA Medical Center in Johnson City, Tenn.  That medical center uses waste methane that is produced from a local municipal landfill.  

“In conjunction with the investments in clean energy generation and other environmental projects through our Green Management Program,” Shinseki said, “these assessments will help VA continue to lead in going green.”

VA operates more than 1,400 sites of care.  More than 5.5 million people received care in VA health care facilities in 2008.

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