FORT DETRICK, Md. — The U.S. Army released its first climate strategy earlier this year, which outlined steps to make the Army more resilient and adaptive while simultaneously reducing greenhouse gases and considering security implications of climate change.
Part of the strategic plan is to use 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2030 to meet the needs of its installations.
“The time to address climate change is now,” writes Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth, in the foreword of the publication. “The effects of climate change have taken a toll on supply chains, damaged our infrastructure, and increased risks to Army Soldiers and Families due to natural disasters and extreme weather.
“The Army must adapt across our entire enterprise and purposefully pursue greenhouse gas mitigation strategies to reduce climate risks,” she continued. “If we do not take action now, across our installations, acquisition and logistics, and training, our options to mitigate these risks will become more constrained with each passing year.”
In line with executive orders on climate, the Army has established three overarching goals:
- Achieve 50 percent reduction in Army net greenhouse gas pollution by 2030, compared to 2005 levels
- Attain net-zero Army greenhouse gas emissions by 2050
- Proactively consider the security implications of climate change in strategy, planning, acquisition, supply chain, and programming documents and processes
To advance these goals, the Army has established three lines of effort:
- Installations will enhance resilience and sustainability by adapting infrastructure and natural environments to climate change risks, securing access to training and testing lands into the future, and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions.
- Acquisition and logistics will increase operational capability while reducing sustainment demand and strengthening climate resilience.
- Training will prepare a force that is ready to operate in a climate altered world
Secretary Wormuth cites disrupted supply chains, damaged infrastructure, and increased risks to Soldiers from natural disasters and extreme weather as three climate change-related issues requiring strategic planning. Specific initiatives outlined include:
- Vehicle fuel efficiency and electrification
- EV charging infrastructure
- Battery storage
- Carbon-free power generation
- Control systems to intelligently manage HVAC and lighting
- Land management to preserve trees and other carbon sinks
- Predictive logistics to inform strategic planning
- Water conservation
- Sustainable sourcing of construction materials
- Supply chain optimization
- Climate-focused workplace education and development
Investing in renewable energy and demand reduction enables future readiness, and the more self-sustaining our equipment, facilities and processes are, the less vulnerable we are to unconventional attacks against our infrastructure. Fort Detrick is committed in these efforts today and moving forward.
In 2016, Fort Detrick collaborated with the U.S. Army Office of Energy Initiatives to install a 15-megawatt project comprised of 59,994 solar panels. These panels generate enough electricity to power 2,720 homes per year and is estimated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 19,000 metric tons annually.
Also in 2016, the look of 243 homes at Fort Detrick and Glen Haven forever changed with the installation of solar panels on many roofs within our residential communities — part of a 1.7-megawatt project.
In May 2022, it was announced that Fort Detrick is installing a 6-megawatt battery energy storage system. This system is expected to operate for up to 20 years, help with the site’s energy resiliency, and is designed to provide $125,000 in yearly utility savings. Project completion is scheduled for early 2023.
“The resiliency of our installations is an important priority for the Army,” said Mr. Paul Farnan, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment. “This [battery energy storage system] aligns with the Army’s Installation Energy and Water Strategic Plan to provide installations with energy resilience, efficiency, and affordability to enhance readiness. I am very grateful for the continued collaboration amongst all stakeholders to promote resilient, carbon pollution-free energy for the Army and our local communities.”