WASHINGTON -- In less than five years, the Army has put $1 billion in funding from industry partners to use in energy-saving projects.

"I'm proud to announce that, with the signing of our project at Anniston Depot in Alabama later today, the Army will hit the $1 billion mark. Fully one quarter of the president's ultimate goal of $4 billion," said Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning at the Department of Energy Training and Trade Show in Providence, Rhode Island, Aug. 11.

These projects were undertaken in response to a challenge from President Barack Obama to federal agencies in December 2011, asking them to partner with companies to save energy. It was called the Energy Savings and Performance-Based Contracting Investments Initiative and the president wanted the entire government to execute $4 billion in projects by the end of 2016.

In response to Obama's target, the Army has engaged in 127 different projects with the private sector. These projects and agreements alone represent 33 percent of all the federal government's current contributions to meeting the president's goal, and 68 percent of all contributions from the Department of Defense.

These projects leverage the power of the private sector to save energy, improve federal infrastructure, reduce operating expenses and decrease emissions with no upfront costs to the government.

"It's through the power of our partnerships -- both within government and with the private sector -- that we've been able to respond to President Obama's directive that we improve the effectiveness of our energy conservation measures," said Fanning.

The Army is committed to building security and resiliency into every energy investment on the installations. The more energy efficient these installations can be, the more resources are left to invest in Soldiers and operations at the tip of the spear.

Investments from private sector partners in a 60MW biomass plant at Fort Drum has allowed for 100 percent of the energy required -- 28MW -- for Soldiers and civilians, while also returning an additional 32MW to the grid. Fort Drum is no longer vulnerable to the outages from heavy snow that left our Soldiers in the dark on several occasions.

The Army plans to further develop projects like Fort Drum through cogeneration or combined heat and power, which is the use of a heat engine or power station to generate electricity and useful heat at the same time.

"On our installations, and wherever we maintain and train our force, the Army is focused on finding the sweet spot between energy efficiency and energy security. It's an approach that is guiding our efforts on combined heat and power," said Fanning.

The Army currently generates about 100 MW of CHP on installations.

"On College campuses, urban centers, and Army bases, we've seen how CHP provides energy 20 percent - 30 percent more efficiently than conventional technologies," Fanning said. "I'm committing to a doubling of the amount of CHP produced by the Army in the next two years, and to triple it in four years. That means we will add 50MW per year through CHP projects, which is more than what the Army has added in the past ten years combined. This represents a significant acceleration of our work in this sector."