By Col. Raymond Lacey, Fort Sill Garrison commanderApril 1, 2010
FORT SILL, Okla.--Did you know Fort Sill is in the forefront of energy surety development for Army installations'
What is energy surety'
Energy surety is a holistic approach to addressing energy resources including security, availability and performing a cost-effective operation in an environmentally conscious manner.
Many may have heard of efforts to incorporate energy conservation, new energy efficient technologies, green technologies and smart grids in the news. In the broader sense, the local effort of developing energy surety addresses many of the same goals from a military perspective.
Most recently, presidents back to Jimmy Carter up through our current administration, have acknowledged a need for a national energy plan. Many presidents have initiated executive orders. Congress has passed laws including the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, mandating reductions in energy usage and use of renewable technologies at government operated facilities. That mission has been placed.
Energy surety is not new to the military. Over the years, military installations have produced their own utility commodities. Advancing the technology aids the Soldiers' missions.
Presently, electrical utility pole and components replacement is under way. This project was initiated to increase grid reliability.
Energy conservation efforts are ongoing which are low cost no cost to capital investment projects. Many low cost-no cost projects have been initiated by Fort Sill patrons including the recent directive to shut down computers, with exception of Monday evenings, during all non-use hours.
Capital investment projects include water projects, geothermal heat pump installation; energy management controls systems, heating ventilation and air-conditioning systems upgrades and others.
Fort Sill was selected as the pilot location to participate in the development of the standard for an Armywide energy security template.
A microgrid is being developed which uses existing resources, such as backup generators, and new green technologies such as wind power and photovoltaic sources.
Incorporating such technological advancements will increase system availability in the event of natural or manmade disasters. A few years from now, the system is expected to be capable of managing all assets of the utility while insuring availability to critical missions during the loss of a commercial provider.
An initial study has been conducted in the entry level training area, specifically on the electrical utility system east of I-44. Funding requests have been submitted to begin phase one of the future postwide system.
In addition to the electrical resources, studies are under way to develop use of methane gas produced at the landfill and within the shale formations. Advancements of this resource are considered renewable and have the capacity to supplement natural gas usage.
Use of waste water effluent is being developed to lessen the burden on consumption of potable water in mechanical applications. A pilot project is under way for proof of concept at a military installation while incorporating lessons learned from private sector applications.
Locally, Fort Sill users will benefit through increased availability of utility and mechanical systems.
Although the local grid experienced short brown and blackouts during the recent ice storm, benefits have already been realized through the delivery of electricity when some neighboring communities were without power for extended periods of time.
Across the Army, the engineering and energy communities are working with end users to identify critical needs, share lessons learned and move forward to a 21st century solution.
The country will benefit from increased energy and operations efficiencies through lower utility costs to tax payers. Ultimately, there will become a more efficient use of water resources and a lesser dependency on domestic and foreign oil.
How to help
The base component of energy surety is decreasing, and making the most efficient use of, utility commodities. Whether a kilo-watt hour of electricity, delivery of a gallon of water, or heating a square foot of space, all usage converts to use of British Thermal Units. The key is to reduce BTUs!
Accomplishing this goal and the level of success is dependent on each of us. Turning off an unused light, unplugging a coffee pot when not used or maintaining efficient usage of water resources will count. Realizing your impact, along with your neighbor, adds up to the success because every BTU counts.