Royal Navy: Cutting-edge turbine helps Navy’s HQ in Liverpool slash energy bills

Royal Navy | April 2023

The first wind turbine of its kind in Europe has been fitted to the Royal Navy’s headquarters in Liverpool to slash energy costs.

Described as a ‘turbine in a box’, the unique system – which has just been singled out for an environmental award – is the first step in taking HMS Eaglet ‘off the grid’, ultimately generating its own electricity, saving thousands of pounds a year and dramatically reducing CO2 emissions.

The waterfront headquarters at Brunswick Dock, about a mile south of Liverpool city centre, is home to both the Navy’s Regional Commander for the North-West and staff, as well as the area’s Royal Navy and Royal Marines Reserves among 15 sub-units. It’s used by 200 permanent staff and 1,000 full-time Service personnel, Reservists and civilians on a regular basis.

Eaglet was built in the 1990s, making it one of the newest establishments in the Navy, and features the energy saving standards of the day.

A quarter of a century later the building needed upgrading – dubbed Project Liverbird – as the Navy along with the Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association for the North West of England and the Isle of Man strive for net zero emissions and reduced reliance on fossil fuels.

The Hover Wind-Powered Microgrid – positioned on the roof of Eaglet – is the brainchild of Dallas-based Hover Energy.

It chooses the mix of power and can generate up to 100,000kWh of electricity a year – equivalent to what ten typical family homes would consume – as well storing and ‘combining’ renewable electricity with power from the main grid simultaneously, something no other behind-the-meter product in the world that can do this.

Aside from the turbine, other energy-saving measures introduced to are:

• ‘air to air’ source heating which converts free energy from the air and upgrades it to higher temperatures suitable for heating;
• ‘air-to-water’ heat pumps replacing the existing, inefficient oversize boiler, reducing gas use and wastage – saving over £12,000 every year;
• energy-efficient controls and heat reclaim to the ventilation system – saving £15,800 a year.
• heat pumps throughout to heat/cool the building – saving £1,700 and lower CO2 emissions
• LED lights, activated by motion sensors.
• Improved insulation throughout.

Awards – Eaglet is generating nearly two thirds of the energy it consumes. The turbine alone has reduced CO2 emissions by 17 tonnes a year, the air source heat pumps an additional nine tonnes.

Warrant Officer 1 Mark Barker, who oversaw the revamp on behalf of the Navy, said it made sense to incorporate “cutting-edge green energy efficient solutions” when the entire building was refurbished.

“These changes combine to create a huge reduction in carbon, energy and costs in an age of increasing gas and electric tariffs. The Hover wind turbine – a first in UK and Europe – will deliver the bulk of these savings,” he added.

“On current data, it takes HMS Eaglet ‘off grid’ by a forecasted baseline of 63 per cent.”

Embracing environmental technology has created a new-look headquarters more pleasant to work in, more useful to the wider Ministry of Defence as a regional hub in the North-West, at the same time as cutting bills and CO2 emissions.

Colonel Mark Underhill, Chief Executive of NW RFCA said “The Hover Energy wind turbine at HMS Eaglet in Liverpool is incredibly important and extremely exciting; it represents a quantum leap in our green energy revolution.

“With solar panels and battery storage we will take the site completely off grid. These efficiencies will save a huge amount of taxpayers money and provide energy security at this major MOD site which plays an important role in working with civil authorities and emergency services.”

Christopher Griffin, CEO and Co-Founder of Hover Energy LLC, added: “Hover is proud to be in unity with the MoD in its efforts to decarbonise each site and establish complete energy security.  These joint efforts continue to encourage our relentless focus on sustainable energy design.  And we know we are only just getting started, together.”

"These changes combine to create a huge reduction in carbon, energy and costs in an age of increasing gas and electric tariffs. The Hover wind turbine – a first in UK and Europe – will deliver the bulk of these savings." -Warrant Officer 1 Mark Barker

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