Fort Knox goes ‘off grid’ with generator

Fort Knox testing out multi-million dollar "off the grid" program

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Fort Knox had a major power outage Wednesday. However, it was all part of a plan to build a more prepared and self-sufficient base.

Fort Knox provides power to nearly 2,000 facilities. It tested a $62-million program that allows it to operate off-grid without the help of outside electricity.

LG&E cut off power to Fort Knox on Wednesday morning. Officials said the ice storm in 2009 that knocked out power across Kentucky for days was one reason why officials thought an investment in a new generator was necessary.

“Last time there was an outage, there were army families affected, critical missions affected,” Fort Knox Public Works Director Patrick Walsh said. “We don’t want to get in that position again.”

The generator runs on natural gas and diesel. It was tested for the first time Wednesday. Fort Knox Senior General Senior Commander John Evans said the trial run was a success.

“Pretty exciting watching that board,” he said. "Until someone explains to you the nuances of what’s going on or the power you don’t understand it. To watch LG&E turn off their power to our installation and then see us bring those six sub stations up and start distributing power, it’s pretty impressive.”

Fort Knox hopes to serve as an example other bases and departments with its innovation. Officials said the project shows the direction the base is taking for its future. The program will save about $10 million a year, officials said. It can provide necessary water and energy for up to 14 days.

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