ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- The U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command commander, Maj. Gen. Peter D. Utley, signed a three-year cooperative research and development agreement with energy supplier, Constellation, signifying a long-term partnership in the pursuit of geo-thermal energy and the exploration of other sustainable and secure energy solutions. Mark Huston, president of Constellation Retail signed on behalf of the company.

The signing ceremony, held August 4 at ATEC's Headquarters, marked the start of the partnership, which comes during a time when the Army is looking at all avenues to save resources as budgets continue to decline.

"We're looking to develop more efficient practices to alleviate our dependence on costly foreign energy sources and achieve cost savings without degradation to the mission," said Utley. "Our role is constantly changing and energy is essential in all we do."

The Army has made it a priority to reduce energy use on installations across the globe and take a closer look at how to increase the use of renewable energy alternatives.

He went on to explain how technology has changed the way business is conducted, wars fought and how American citizens live their daily lives. "The reality is…it takes energy to enable technology," said Utley.

The mutually beneficial agreement will explore how best to utilize ATEC's existing power generation test mission with resources to include scientific expertise, people and instrumentation. In the end, the results of the research will be shared between the Army and Constellation. Other Aberdeen Proving Ground tenants will participate in the research in an effort to discover what combination of technology is best to produce deployable renewable energy, explained Dr. Melissa Steffen, physical scientist at Aberdeen Test Center.

"We're happy to be part of this unique public/private partnership that will advance the Army's goals for onsite renewable power and for deployable, scalable energy resources to support Soldiers in the field," said Joe Nigro, CEO of Constellation.

As part of the ATC mission, the center conducts testing on a multitude of military technologies, including vehicles, generators, live-fire and direct fire testing to ensure the equipment Soldiers use in the field are safe, suitable and effective, Steffen explained.

"We'd like to develop geo-thermal energy technology to actually create electricity that can be used on the installation and decrease our energy consumption rates to follow the path toward renewable energy and sustainability," Steffen explained. The Army is also looking at ways to leverage and mature deployable energy options to deliver sustainable, light weight and secure power sources for Soldiers in the field.

Agreements like these are one of the ways commands, like ATEC, are thinking outside the box as it aggressively pursues more efficient energy sources and help ignite a culture change of energy conservation in the Army.

"We must find ways to reduce energy consumption and help spark a culture change of discipline to pursuing energy alternatives and developing strategies to increase energy efficiency, energy resiliency, and cost savings," said Utley. "Today marks a pivotal step toward that culture change."

Page last updated Wed August 13th, 2014 at 11:19