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Military Energy Efficiency

U.S. DoD Employs Solid Oxide Fuel Cells

The U.S. Department of Defense has deployed 1.6 megawatt of solid oxide fuel cells to power NSA facilities at Fort Meade, Maryland.  The amount of power generation capacity is equivalent to powering 1,200 homes.  The fuel cells system, manufactured by Bloom Energy and installed by ARGO Systems, eliminate the need for electrical transmission from the grid and costly backup infrastructure as they generate power on-site. Read more here. The U.S. DoD has also partnered with the U.S. Department of Energy in this area. Under the 2010 Memorandum of Understanding, the two departments agreed to install 18 fuel cell backup power systems at eight military installations across the U.S.

 

U.S. DoD’s Energy Costs Projections for FY2015

According to Edward Thomas Morehouse Jr., principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for operational energy plans and programs, the U.S. Department of Defense estimates that it will use about 96 million barrels of fuel at a cost of nearly $15 billion in fiscal year 2015. DoD plans to invest $1.7 billion to improve how energy is used for military operations, and about $9 billion across the Five-year Defense Plan. The 92% of the investment will be used to enhance energy performance of weapons and military forces, and another 7% will be used to diversify and secure supplies of operational energy. Morehouse also highlighted the level of progress DoD has achieved in the realm of energy, stating "With energy and energy logistics now being incorporated into major war games, and as a mandatory performance parameter in our requirements development process,...understanding how energy affects ...

Four U.S. Military Bases Go Solar

The U.S. Army teamed up with Georgia Power to install large photovoltaic solar arrays at three military bases. The arrays, scheduled to start generating power in 2015, will allow the Army to supply 18% of its electricity in Georgia from on-site renewable sources, moving it 9% closer to meeting federal goals for renewable energy. There will be no incremental cost to the Army or change in its rates or utility costs as all the electricity produced by these solar projects will be delivered to the utility’s grid. However, the military bases will be prioritized from Georgia Power during service interruptions. Read more at EnergyWire here . Meanwhile, the Army also plans to start development of another solar array at Fort Huachuca in Arizona in a joint effort between the U.S. Army Energy Initiative Task Force, Fort Huachuca, The General Services Administration, Tucson Electric Power and developer...

U.S. DoD Releases the First Comprehensive Defense Energy Policy in over 20 Years

The U.S. Department of Defense released its first overarching defense energy policy in more than two decades. The new policy directive initiated in June 2013 formalizes key energy management principles that guide DoD activities and provides “a much-anticipated common energy narrative” for the Department. Specifically, it provides guidance for the full range of defense energy activities such as operational and facilities energy, and assigns responsibilities for energy planning, use, and management across the Office of Secretary of Defense (OSD), the Joint Staff, Combatant Commands, Military Services, and Defense Agencies. Read more here.

The U.S. Navy Steps Up Biofuels Efforts

The U.S. Navy is embarking on a larger-scale replacement of petroleum fuels for day-to-day mission use as biofuels technologies advance, making biofuels more economic. The U.S. Department of Defense awarded four companies with contracts to produce a total of 170 million gallons of drop-in, military-compatible biofuels, with production starting in 2016. The companies agreed to supply biofuels at a price “well below” $4 per gallon. The Navy currently pays an average of $3.73 for petroleum-based fuel. These biofuels supplies are expected to generate 50-90% fewer greenhouse gas emissions. The biofuel purchases represent an important precursor to Navy’s goal to power the entire Navy carrier strike group, including its aviation assets, by alternative energy by 2016. According to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, this goal, dubbed “Great Green Fleet”, is intended to be the start of Navy’s “new normal.”...

U.S. Marines Test Hydrogen-Powered Vehicles

Under a program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, Camp Pendleton in California has partnered with three private companies including General Motors, Ford, and Quantum Technologies to test hydrogen-powered vehicles, develop refueling infrastructure, and reduce the base’s use of petroleum fuel. The base has tested two types of hydrogen vehicles. One type is operated by hydrogen fuel cells which convert compressed hydrogen gas and oxygen to electricity, powering an electric motor. The other type has an internal combustion engine modified to burn hydrogen gas. Data collected by the vehicle’s onboard computers is used by the three partner companies to improve their hydrogen-powered vehicles. According to a Camp Pendleton fleet manager, Jim Seaman, the Marine Corps is also exploring ways to expand hydrogen fuel technology in powering forklifts and stationary generators to provide electri...

U.S. Marine Corps Implement Energy Saving Projects

U.S. Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center (MCAGCC) in California implemented several energy saving projects. This includes a 7.2 MW dual-fueled cogeneration plant that produces electricity and heat and saves around $5.8 million a year, returning construction costs within four years.  Secondly, the Center installed a 1.2 MW photovoltaic solar array which is expected to reduce energy costs by saving $1.1 million a year. Finally, the base upgraded heating, cooling and lighting systems, reducing maintenance calls from 400 a month to an average of two a week. Read more here.

U.S. Military Harvests Wind Power

The U.S. F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming installed the first Air Force wind project expected to save over $3 million in energy costs over the next 20 years. Also the U.S. Cape Cod Air Force Station (AFS) embarked on two new wind turbines that can produce up to 3.2 MW. In addition to reducing the base’s energy costs, the Air Force earns money by selling electricity to the local electric company when the turbines produce more power than the base consumes. The station is estimated to save more than $600,000 a year, recouping more than 50% of Cape Cod AFS’ annual electric bill. Furthermore, Air Force base, Tin City Long Range Radar Station in Alaska operates a 250 kW wind turbine that is projected to cut diesel fuel at the remote station by 30 to 35% and save up to $443,000 per year in energy costs. Finally, U.S. Navy base, San Clemente Island in California installed three wind turbines to re...

U.S. Military Major Solar Projects

The U.S. Department of Defense plans to meet 25% of its energy needs with renewable energy by 2025, aiming to cover the cost of energy efficiency projects through financial instruments such as Power Purchase Agreements, Enhanced Use Leasing, Utility Service Contracts and Energy Savings Performance Contracts. Solar Mosaic blog published a list of several major solar projects that will help DoD to meet its energy efficiency goal. The first project is the Fort Irwin solar plant which will initially produce more than 500 MW, with the potential to deliver 1000 MW. The project, awarded to Clark Energy Group and Acciona, is being funded through an enhanced use lease under which the two companies finance, construct, and operate the solar project in exchange for a long-term lease of U.S. Army land. The second project is SolarCity’s five-year program called SolarStrong which aims to provide solar ...

The Largest Renewable Energy Project in U.S. Military History

El Paso Electric is building a 20 MW solar farm at Fort Bliss in Texas; a major step toward making the installation net zero – producing as much energy as it consumes. The solar farm is expected to be completed in 2015. Fort Bliss is already home to the U.S. Army’s second-largest, 1.4 MW solar array. It has also installed a 13.4 MW rooftop solar on housing posts. In addition, another 20 MW contract with El Paso Electric is being discussed, as well as a plan with the city of El Paso to convert waste to energy. Read more from the U.S. DoD website. 

Energy Efficient Shelter System for Expeditionary Basing

The U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC), also known as Natick Labs, embarked on an energy efficient shelter system that provides full-living capability for military personnel at base camps. The Self-sustaining Living Module (SLiM) concept developed by Leidos Inc. is designed to enhance self-sufficiency and habitability to support expeditionary bases. According to Leidos, the rigid-walled, modular shelter system can be set up by soldiers without material handling equipment and includes energy efficiency systems that reduce water and fuel resupply needs. Specifically, the SLiM system has several features that alleviate expeditionary basing challenges including solar energy collection and microgrid power management, rainwater collection, water purification systems, and easy onsite setup and teardown. In addition, with the capability of energy water...

A Listing of Open Defense Energy Solicitations for Businesses

The Office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy created a web page featuring a list of open, operational energy-related solicitations announced by the U.S. Department of Defense. The most recent 2014 solicitations call for technologies to reduce the power and weight demands placed on dismounted soldiers, technologies that could be used to reduce energy and water consumption at expeditionary bases, and technologies that can harvest energy from Marines on patrol and from generator waste heat. The full list, which continues to be updated as new solicitations emerge, can be accessed HERE.

FY14 Operation Energy Innovation Fund Call for Proposals

The office of the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy Plans and Programs issued the third annual call for proposals for U.S. DoD's Operational Energy Capabilities Improvement Fund (OECIF) which funds science and technology programs to enhance the energy performance of U.S. military forces in the field. This year's topic is "Analytic Methods for Considering Operational Energy." For this particular program, proposals should come from DoD components and not from non-governmental organizations. Read more directly from a cover memo HERE.

Natural Gas as a Fuel for Military Vehicles

While approximately one thousand U.S. military domestic non-tactical vehicles run on natural gas, when it comes to the U.S. tactical fleet abroad, there exist several barriers to switching from traditional liquid fuels to natural gas as a direct fuel, observes Bret Strogen, AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow on the Innovation Team within the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy. These barriers revolve around availability, compatibility, energy density, safety, and economics. Read more about each of these factors HERE.

Renewable Energy for Military Installations: 2014 Industry Review

As a part of its National Defense and Security Initiative, the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) released a new report entitled "Renewable Energy for Military Installations: 2014 Industry Review" in which a variety of renewable energy stakeholders from the private sector share industry perspective related to renewable energy installations at military facilities. The report provides an insight into state regulatory hurdles for military use of renewables, best practices in collaboration with state energy offices, and an overview of the existing procurement landscape among others. The February 2014 report can be accessed HERE.

The U.S. Military Opens Its Biggest Solar Array

The U.S. Department of Defense opened its biggest solar array. This 16.4 megawatt solar farm located at David-Monthan Air Force Base in Tuscon, Arizona, will deliver 35% of the base's electricity needs and is projected to cut energy costs by $500,000 a year. The project is part of the U.S. Air Force effort to acquire 25% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025. The Air Force spends over $9 billion annually on electricity and fuel costs, making it the largest consumer of energy in the U.S. federal government. The project, which includes a 25-year power purchase agreement with SunEdison, demonstrates benefits of public-private partnerships which were vital to financing construction of the array, allowing the air force base to acquire solar power at little or no upfront cost. Pew Charitable Trusts' recent research found that around 80% of future DoD renewable energy projects will be...

The U.S. Navy Uses Advanced Biofuels

Dennis McGinn, U.S. Navy assistant secretary for energy, installations, and the environment, discusses how the Navy is using advanced biofuels to power ships, planes and vehicles to cut its dependence on foreign oil and bolster its energy security. Watch an interview with Dennis McGinn HERE

The U.S Pacific Command (USPACOM) Releases Energy Strategy

The United States Pacific Command (USPACOM) released an energy strategy for the Asia-Pacific region. The USPACOM strategy, which complements the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Operational Energy Strategy and Implementation Plan , calls for “incorporating operational energy into the core business of Pacific Command as a way to improve warfighting capability and reduce costs,” notes Rachel Posner, the Deputy Director for Policy in the office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy Plans and Programs. The USPACOM embarked on implementing the DoD Operational Energy Strategy two years ago. Since then the Command “established an energy governance structure (the Joint Energy Security Working Group); tested operational energy risks in the TERMINAL FURY Command Post Exercise; co-sponsored studies to analyze energy supportability of operations in the Asia-Pacific region; incorpora...

ESTCP Solicits Environmental and Installation Energy Technology Proposals for FY 2015 Funding

The Environmental Security Technology Certification Program ( ESTCP ), the U.S. Department of Defense’s environmental research program, solicits Environmental and Installation Energy Technology Proposals for FY 2015 funding. Pre-proposal submissions are due on April 1, 2014 and should be related to Energy Efficiency for Military Buildings; Assessment of Vapor Intrusion; Weapons Systems and Platforms; and Water Conservation and Reuse for Military Facilities. More information about the solicitations is available here . ESTCP Director, Dr. Anne Andrews, will also conduct an online seminar entitled “ESTCP Funding Opportunities for Environmental and Energy Technologies” on February 21, 2014 from 12:30-1:30pm Eastern Time. Pre-registration for this webinar is required here .

Hybrid Generator Could Reduce Operational Base Fuel Costs by 50%

In an effort to alleviate a logistical challenge of supplying diesel fuel for military forces in the field, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) embarked on Earl Energy’s FlexGen “hybrid generator” which, according to the company, can reduce the amount of fuel used by generators at outposts by more than 50%. Regular diesel generators that the U.S. military uses to power its operating bases run non-stop without adjusting to the fluctuations of power demand of air conditioners, electronics and other gear. Consequently, the fuel efficiency is compromised when the demand for power is lower than the generator’s full capacity. As the IEEE Spectrum article describes, in contrast, the hybrid generator “is wired to a diesel generator running at full capacity, which is how it’s most efficient. When there is excess power, the diesel generator charges the batteries. If the batteries have enough stor...

The Georgia National Guard Embarks on Solar Power

The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) will use high-efficiency crystalline silicon solar cells and modules to power its military base in Savannah, Georgia. The modules, manufactured by a metro-Atlanta based Suniva, Inc., will be used in the roof-mounted photovoltaic (PV) solar system on the Georgia National Guard’s Hunter AASF building and will generate around 160,000kWh per year. According to installer, Solar Energy USA, the array should be installed and operational by the end of Q1 2014. The DOD Georgia’s use of solar power is yet another example of the U.S. military effort to increase the total installed capacity of renewable energy sources from 80 megawatts (MW) in 2013 to more than 3,200 MW by 2025.  Read more on this from Business Wire. 

Military Smart Grids & Microgrids Symposium

The Military Smart Grids & Microgrids Symposium 2014 will bring together key planners, policy makers and technical experts in developing smart and microgrid systems.  This two-day symposium offering networking and exhibiting opportunities will be held in Washington D.C. on April 8-9, 2014. The symposium will feature keynote speakers such as for instance the Honorable Dennis V. McGinn, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Energy Installations & Environment, speaking on “Navy Energy: Needs, Challenges & New Strategic Programs for Sustainability; the Honorable Katherine Hammack, Assistant Secretary of the Army, Installations, Energy & Environment, delivering a keynote address on “Army Energy Outlook: Needs, Challenges & New Initiatives”. Read more about the agenda and speakers.

Energy Efficient Outpost Modeling Consortium to Reduce Fuel Use in Forward Operating Bases

As a part of an effort to reduce cost and risk of getting fuel to forward operating bases, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) concluded a new cooperative agreement with the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory to develop information that military resource planners can use to optimize energy consumption depending on their specific local conditions and mission needs. This consortium, the first of its kind, plans to use simulations to determine how best to integrate existing technologies, including renewable fuels. The Energy Efficient Outpost Modeling Consortium has three pillars including: Energy Resource Planning Tool; Energy Resource Dashboard and Control; and Energy Efficiency Training. The consortium is supported by the DOD’s Operational Energy Capabilities Impr...

The U.S. Undertakes the First Quadrennial Energy Review (QER)

In addition to a U.S. DoD-conducted Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) issued every four years, the U.S. will undertake, for the first time, a Quadrennial Energy Review (QER). The first QER will focus on transmission and distribution infrastructure. Per the White House press release from January 2014: “This first QER will focus on the development of a comprehensive strategy for the infrastructure involved in transporting, transmitting, and delivering energy. The QER will be developed through robust interagency dialogue and engagement of external stakeholders and will help to build on the Nation’s progress toward greater energy and climate security.  Building on the foundation provided in the President’s Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future and his Climate Action Plan, this QER will study the opportunities and challenges that our energy infrastructure faces as a result of transformations in...

The U.S. Marines Solicit Submissions on Tactical Energy Harvesting

Once a year, the U.S. Marine Corps invites select industry stakeholders to the Experimental Forward Operating Base (ExFOB) to demonstrate off-the-shelf technologies with potential to address current Marine Corps capability gaps. Presently, as a part of their effort to reduce battlefield energy and water requirements, the Marines are soliciting submissions on “Tactical Energy Harvesting” for the purpose of determining market capability of suitable technologies.  The ExFOB team is primarily interested in technologies that harvest energy from Marines in motion and waste heat from standard generators. Read more details here.

Global Renewable Energy Market in Military 2014-2018

Research and Market analysts forecast that the global renewable energy market in the military sector will grow at a nearly 14 percent compound annual growth rate over the period 2014-2018. The increased adoption of decentralized power generation and the increase in construction of smart grid are among the key contributors of this market growth. Read more at Reuters. 

 

Power Surge: How the U.S. Military is Financing Clean Energy

Pew’s new report, “ Power Surge ”, examines how the U.S. military is using private-sector capabilities and harnessing innovative financing to obtain advanced energy systems. The Pew research finds that private-public partnership is key to growth.  According to the study, the number of energy savings and efficiency projects at military installations more than doubled between 2010 and 2012 fiscal year, and the number of renewable energy projects increased from 454 to 700 during the same period. Phyllis Cuttino, director of Pew’s project on national security, energy, and climate noted “The military’s clean energy installation initiatives are gathering momentum, enhancing base energy security. These improvements are possible even as the Pentagon’s budget is shrinking because the armed services are harnessing private-sector expertise and resources. This is a win-win-win proposition: The militar...

Interview with IAGS’ Gal Luft on the Military’s Role in Biofuels

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Tactical Defense Media interviewed Gal Luft, Co-Director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security (IAGS), the publisher of the   Journal of Energy Security , on a potential role of biofuels in a military’s energy mix, and a military’s potential role in biofuels development. According to Luft, “With respect to biofuels, the only role I see for the military is in the testing and certification of fuels to make sure they can be used should they prove economically viable. What I don’t want to see from the military is mass adoption of fuels that are in many cases much more expensive – [as] this would come at the expense of other needs.”   Read more   directly from November 2013 DoD Power, Energy & Propulsion.

U.S. Army Energy Efficiency Highlights from 2013

This December 2013 presentation by the U.S. Army Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy and Sustainability, Richard Kidd, provides a comprehensive summary of the Army’s 2013 energy efficiency progress across its energy trio framework focused on bases, soldier and vehicle power. Read more at the Army’s Homepage.

The U.S. Air Force in Europe and Africa Adopts Residential Energy Efficiency Program

As part of the U.S. Department of Defense latest plan to increase military energy efficiency after spending $157.5 million on energy in 2013 fiscal year, the U.S. Air Force in Europe and Air Force Africa (USAFE-AFAFRICA) implemented a Residential Energy Efficiency Program (REEP). The program employs energy monitors that record electricity usage to raise awareness among the base residents how much energy they use and at what cost. The UK Royal Air Force base in Lakenheath, England, the first one to implement the REEP, has slashed electricity use and gas consumption by 30% among the residents participating in the program.   Read more   at American Chemistry.

U.S. Marines Test a New Solar Power Vest

U.S. Marine base camps throughout the Middle East have embarked on solar photovoltaic (PV) panels to lower expenses. In addition to already using solar power to power off-grid ground structures and battery packs, the Marines are currently testing solar powered vests which will enable Marines to function effectively in hard-to-supply locations for longer periods, while reducing logistical and physical challenges. Joining the Navy and Air Force renewable energy efforts, the Marines are working toward achieving 50 percent higher energy efficiency on the battlefield by 2025.   Read more   on U.S. Marines portable solar initiatives at Clean Technica.

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