Energy lease powers MacDill AFB resilience 

  • Published
  • By Breanne Humphreys
  • AFIMSC Public Affairs

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas — The Department of the Air Force signed an Energy Assurance Lease (EAL) Nov. 9 with Tampa Electric Company (TEC) to construct, maintain and operate a 75-megawatt producing natural gas peaking plant at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida.

Under the terms of the MacDill AFB lease, the Air Force is leasing 2.7 acres to TEC for 33 years. In exchange for lease of the land to TEC, the installation will receive first rights to electricity produced by the system during commercial electric grid failures or a declared emergency.

The land is made available through the lease of non-excess, underutilized Air Force-managed real estate. The Air Force Civil Engineer Center Installations Directorate’s Real Estate Development Division is responsible for negotiating and managing long-term energy assurance lease agreements between the Air Force and developers.

“Real estate is a powerful tool,” said Jeffrey Domm, AFCEC installations director, “We negotiate real estate development opportunities to boost installations’ energy assurance and operational resilience.”

For MacDill, one of those energy assurance enhancements is a 20-megawatt Battery Energy Storage System that can provide backup power.  

Being a coastal installation, MacDill faces threats posed by severe weather and climate change, said David Mairs, Enhanced Use Lease (EUL) asset manager for the real estate development division.

“Assured power is essential for MacDill,” Mairs said. “Relying on a single substation for power creates too great of a mission risk — this EAL creates a redundant energy source that can immediately mitigate grid disruption impacts.”

From inception to award, the project was successfully executed due to the incredible teamwork and collaboration from personnel at MacDill, AFCEC, Air Mobility Command and TEC, said Kevin Kish, installation management flight chief for the 6th Civil Engineer Squadron at MacDill AFB.

Together, the project team navigated challenging requirements such as the Environmental Impact Analysis Process and established a foundation for greater energy assurance, said Andy Rider, 6th CES Environmental Element chief.

“Climate change is a huge issue for MacDill AFB since it is surrounded by Hillsborough and Tampa Bays on two sides," Rider said. "Providing redundant energy is a key part of the equation to creating a resilient installation.” 

Construction is expected to begin in early 2023.

The AFCEC Installations Directorate’s Real Estate Development Division provides cradle-to-grave management of the Air Force EUL and EAL programs, ranging from source selection acquisition and lease closing to post-closing management. To date, AFCEC, a primary subordinate unit of the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center, has executed two EALs and five Energy- EULs.