By Mr. Paul Boyce (FORSCOM)October 6, 2008
The U.S. Army recently established a Senior Energy Council to serve as a board of directors focusing on Army energy policy, programs and funding to leverage the Army's nationwide energy-conservation efforts. The secretary also announced five major energy projects as part of the council's initial work. These projects are in addition to ongoing efforts like the solar projects at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, and Fort Carson, Colo.; large-scale energy-management programs at Fort Hood, Texas; ambitious recycling programs at Fort Bragg, N.C., new photo voltaic equipped housing at Fort Shafter, Hawaii; and high-tech energy conservation projects at Fort Lewis, Wash.
The council is co-chaired by the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations & Environment Keith Eastin and the Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Chiarelli. It will report to the Secretary of the Army with a report card on the status of Army energy initiatives and plans and programs. In a related move, the Army also established an Army Energy & Partnership Office headed by Paul Bollinger, who will serve as the Senior Energy Executive for the Army with the responsibility of implementing its energy enterprise strategy.
"This new leadership structure will provide a consistent and steady focus on energy that will provide the oversight required as well as the effective management of energy programs to deliver the greatest return to the Army," said Secretary of the Army Pete Geren. "We spend over $3 billion every year on energy and the majority of it is spent on our installations. We can significantly reduce our energy consumption by partnering within government and with the private sector to capitalize on the great strides in proven technology that have been developed and implemented across the country."
"The Army plans to increase efficiency and serve as a model for the military and the nation when it comes to the operation of our housing, buildings, and forward operating bases. By making greater use of alternative and renewable energy, Army initiatives will bring energy savings and security to the Army, reducing the risk of power disruption," Eastin said.
To renew this focus on energy security, conservation and installation-level innovations, the Army announced several pilot projects, including:
-- The Army will partner with the private sector to construct a 500 megawatt solar thermal plant at Fort Irwin, Calif, in the Mojave Desert, that will provide renewable power on the grid and provide the sprawling Army post with added energy security against disruption of power supply.
-- The Army is pursuing the purchase of 4,000 small Neighborhood Electric Vehicles to replace gasoline-powered vehicles traditionally used by maintenance and operations staff for use on its posts.
-- Six Army posts have been selected as sites for biomass to fuel demonstrations through a contract with the DLA. Also the Army is working with the private sector and with the Navy to develop a major geo thermal project at Hawthorne Army Depot, Nev., with the capability of producing 30 megawatts of clean power.
-- The Army will enter into a pilot energy savings performance contract with the private sector on an installation to serve as a model for monitoring and reducing energy consumption. The savings will be shared by the Army and the civilian contractor.
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