For the Department of Defense, energy conservation and efficiency is not simply a media slogan, nor is an intensive program to develop sustainable energy sources just a dream. Driven by the real needs for increased energy security and reduced fossil fuel consumption, the armed forces are moving far ahead of Congress. The highlights of this DoD effort are described in a Pew Charitable Trust study released September 21, titled “From Barracks to the Battlefield: Clean Energy Innovation and America’s Armed Forces”.
As the Post-Gazette reported last week, the DoD.’s efforts include use of biofuels for 50 pct of its domestic aviation needs by 2016, improving the energy efficiency in motor vehicles, using hybrid technologies to reduce the fuel consumption of ships, making half a million buildings more energy efficient, and in pursuit of facilities that are “net zero” in tems of energy, waer, and waste
In applauding the DoD efforts, former Senator John Warner of Virginia said that when in the Senate “he wrote legislation directing the defense department to study how climate change would affect bases and military operations. The military now is very conscious of climate change’s impact and the need to reduce energy consumption”.
According to a press release, the highlights of the Pew study are:
Vehicle Efficiency: Liquid petroleum fuels account for approximately three-quarters ($11 billion) of DoD’s $15 billion annual energy bill. DoD spending to harness clean energy technologies for air, land and sea vehicles is projected to grow to $2.25 billion annually by 2015. To achieve its goal of increasing efficiency and reducing fuel consumption on ships by 15 percent between 2010 and 2020, the Navy is using hybrid electric technologies, improving hull coatings and using more efficient materials. A hybrid electric drive system will be tested on the USS Truxtun, a guided-missile destroyer, and is expected to save 8,500 barrels of fuel annually. Recent operational improvements that enhance efficiency will save the department $500 million this fiscal year alone.
Advanced Biofuels: DoD has set ambitious goals and is taking concrete steps to utilize advanced biofuels. The Air Force intends to use biofuels for 50 percent of its domestic aviation needs by 2016. The Navy plans to demonstrate a “Great Green Fleet” and, along with the Marines, plans to use alternative energy sources to meet 50 percent of its energy requirements across operational platforms by 2020. To reach these goals, DoD has accelerated research on advanced biofuels, successfully testing and certifying them for use in existing fighter jets and ships.
Energy efficiency and renewables at bases: With more than 500,000 buildings and structures at 500 major installations around the world, DoD manages three times the square footage operated by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Since 1985, DoD has reduced its facility energy consumption by more than 30 percent. By insulating 9 million square feet of base structures in Iraq and Afghanistan, energy consumption has been reduced by 77,000 gallons a day. Another initiative is the Army’s “net zero” program, which aims to have each of six installations produce as much as they consume in energy, water or waste by 2020, and two other installations, Fort Bliss in Texas and Fort Carson in Colorado, will become net zero in all three areas.
DoD has 450 ongoing renewable energy projects producing or procuring 9.6 percent of its energy from clean sources in fiscal 2010. Renewable energy spending by the department is projected to reach $3 billion by 2015 and $10 billion by 2030. The military’s implementation of smart microgrids will grow by 375 percent, to $1.6 billion annually, in 2020. Market analysts indicate that the DoD will account for almost 15 percent of the microgrid market in 2013.