Fort Knox pulls the plug - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Fort Knox pulls the plug

With the pulling of the plug, officials take the Fort Knox post off the energy grid. (Source: Dale Mader, WAVE 3 News) With the pulling of the plug, officials take the Fort Knox post off the energy grid. (Source: Dale Mader, WAVE 3 News)
Assistant Secretary of the Army Katherine Hammock (Source: Dale Mader, WAVE 3 News) Assistant Secretary of the Army Katherine Hammock (Source: Dale Mader, WAVE 3 News)
Col. Thomas Edwards  (Source: Dale Mader, WAVE 3 News) Col. Thomas Edwards (Source: Dale Mader, WAVE 3 News)
Elizabethtown Mayor Edna Berger  (Source: Dale Mader, WAVE 3 News) Elizabethtown Mayor Edna Berger (Source: Dale Mader, WAVE 3 News)
R.J. Dyrdek (Source; Dale Mader, WAVE 3 News) R.J. Dyrdek (Source; Dale Mader, WAVE 3 News)

FORT KNOX, KY (WAVE) - Fort Knox is making history. After years of work, the Hardin County post now has the capability to go completely off the energy grid.

On May 6, the post became the greenest military installation in the United States. The celebration didn't feature a ribbon cutting, but rather an unplugging.

"I think other installations are going to step up and listen and come to Fort Knox and ask them how they did it," said Katherine Hammock, Assistant Secretary of the Army.

[OTHER NEWS: Energy project aims to get Fort Knox off the grid

Called the Energy Security Project, it took six years to complete and has armed the post with solar panels, geothermal energy, natural gas and even a lake that cools an entire building. In all, it saves $18 million a year and it could lead to saving jobs on post.

"We do believe that we are setting ourselves apart, making ourselves more energy efficient which costs less then to have soldiers based here," said Colonel Thomas Edwards, the Garrison Commander.

Up to 4,000 jobs are a stake, threatening surrounding areas.

"Tremendous, tremendous effect on all of Hardin County," said Edna Burger, the mayor of Elizabethtown.

As part of the ceremony they unveiled the energy bunker. It is where click by click they can come off the grid and switch to their own energy sources. Then it was off to the loudest building on post - the place where the heat from the exhaust and generators is used to produce steam, heat and air conditioning.

"America has to get to the point where they understand what to do more efficiently and better for everybody," said R.J. Dyrdek, the Energy Program Manager.

Next to manpower, energy is the largest bill for the Department of Defense's. The Army is expected to announce the number of job cuts this summer. But at Fort Knox energy may hold the key to the post's future.

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