Weapons Plant to Save $2 Million Per Year Through Energy Efficiency

January 4, 2006

DOE announced on January 4th that it has signed a contract to significantly improve energy efficiency at its Pantex Plant near Amarillo, Texas, resulting in an estimated savings of more than $2 million per year. This contract will also help the nuclear weapons plant cut its annual energy use by two percent as required by the energy legislation signed by President George W. Bush in August 2005. The Pantex Plant covers 25 square miles and serves as the only nuclear weapons assembly and disassembly facility in the United States. See the Pantex Plant Web site.

Energy-saving measures will include: installing new energy-efficient lighting systems and control systems to reduce waste in heating and air-conditioning systems, repairing leaks in steam systems, installing energy-efficient cooling systems, and renovating dehumidifiers needed for industrial operations. These energy conservation measures will cost about $19.5 million over 19 years, but will save the Pantex Plant an estimated $38 million in that same time frame. See the DOE press release.

NORESCO, an energy services company, will oversee the improvements through an energy savings performance contract (ESPC). Under ESPCs, companies invest in energy-saving improvements and are repaid with a portion of the energy cost savings over the life of the contract, after which the federal agency continues to reap the cost savings. Since authorized in 1992, ESPCs have been implemented by 18 different federal agencies and departments, saving 14.4 trillion Btu annually. These projects will save the government $5.0 billion in energy costs, of which $3.5 billion will be used to pay off project investment, leaving a net savings of $1.5 billion. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 extends the authority for all Federal agencies to use ESPCs until September 30th, 2016. See the Federal Energy Management Program Web site.