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Mar 1, 2024

Camp Lejeune and Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Deployment

Sponsored Content provided by Diane Cherry , North Carolina Military Business Center

Camp Lejeune is the largest Marine Corps base in the eastern United States with approximately 36,000 active-duty military and 5,700 civilians. The base is in the process of electrifying its government-owned non-tactical fleet and installing electric vehicle (EV) charging stations across its more than 150,000 acres. Executive Order (EO) 14008, “Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad,” signed in January 2021, mandates “clean and zero-emission vehicles for Federal, State, local, and Tribal government fleets.” EO 14008 is one of the many reasons for the change from internal combustion to electric vehicles.

Camp Lejeune expects hundreds of non-tactical electrical vehicles over the next five years. Currently, the base has five “Arc Beam” portable solar chargers – not nearly powerful enough to charge the vehicles due to arrive. So how many chargers are needed and where should they be located on the base?

The National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) and Camp Lejeune’s Public Works Division and Motor Transport Division did a study for Camp Lejeune on the numbers and locations of EV chargers. The base anticipates charging infrastructure at dozens of sites with hundreds of Level 2 and Level 3 chargers. Backup generation is needed at several of these sites. However, knowing the numbers and executing the installation is far more complex than it sounds. 

The North Carolina Military Business Center (NCMBC) and Duke Energy spent two days at Camp Lejeune in mid-January to begin working through the many facets of this project. Commander Robert Syre, Public Works Officer at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station New River, noted at the beginning of the meeting, “there is no framework for providing EV charging on a military base.”  The size of the base and the security issues arising from the use of EV charger software make this a much harder task than deployment in any other context.

There are several considerations that Camp Lejeune is currently weighing:

  • Leasing electric vehicle infrastructure rather than owning and maintaining it;
  • Electrical grid upgrades needed to support an increase in power, especially with the use of Level 3 chargers;
  • Integration of chargers with the General Services Administration’s WEX system so that energy use can be allocated among departments; 
  • Cybersecurity considerations and, more specifically, the assurance of FedRAMP certification of vendors, which is a standardized government approach to security assessment; and,
  • Working with two energy providers on the base – Duke Energy, which provides power to roughly 90 percent of the base, and the Jones-Onslow Electric Membership Corporation, which provides power to 10 percent of the base. Both energy providers have different business models creating additional hurdles.

To move forward, Camp Lejeune has a 24-month timeframe with Design Make Ready, Make Ready Construction, and then EV Infrastructure Installation. The first two steps in this process – Design and Make-Ready Infrastructure Construction - mean that all the electrical infrastructure to operate the EV station including all conduit, wire, and concrete work, are completed so that the chargers can be mounted for use. A team of base officials from Public Works, Fleet and Motor Transport, and Cybersecurity all meet regularly to ensure that the work is moving forward.

EV charging for Private Owned Vehicles on base is another consideration that has yet to be addressed. Charging for Government-Owned Non-Tactical Vehicles remains the priority. 

Fort Liberty is also busy with their EV charging deployment, but the installation has an entirely different business model. Rather than leasing chargers, Fort Liberty owns their chargers and energy is provided by Sandhills Utility Service, a privatized electric provider for the base rather than an investor-owned utility.

The NCMBC is committed to working with Camp Lejeune and Fort Liberty as they move along in their EV initiatives. For more information on this initiative, contact Diane Cherry at cherryd@ncmbc.us or Erin Ananian-Gentile at erin@ncmbc.us

 

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