Tuesday, August 14, 2012

SoCal Marine Exchange Goes Green

A solar and wind power system that generates all the electricity needed to support the tracking of vessels entering and leaving waters from San Diego to Port Hueneme has been put in place at the Marine Exchange of Southern California.

The $450,000 project, which was supported by the Port of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, was designed and built over more than two years. With its unveiling in early August, it means the Marine Exchange, which operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, now runs on electricity generated by a sustainable network of 286 solar panels and four wind turbines.

“We are the modern equivalent of a lighthouse that helps ships find their way safely,” Capt. Richard McKenna, Executive Director of the Marine Exchange, said. “With this project, we are also a figurative lighthouse helping to guide the way to cleaner, greener operations in the San Pedro Bay.”

The system generates more than 87 kW, which is enough to support the Marine Exchange’s up to 60 kW power needs and also feed surplus energy into the city’s power grid.

With the help of city grants and rebates, the direct cost to the Marine Exchange is less than $200,000, according to the City of Los Angeles. The Exchange expects to pay off the expense over the next six to seven years, partially through the savings it will receive by not having to pay an electricity bill.

It previously spent up about $20,000 annually in energy costs, according to the City of Los Angeles.