By Troy Darr, IMCOM EuropeSeptember 11, 2012
HEIDELBERG, Germany (Sept. 11, 2012) -- The Installation Management Command Europe hosted an energy symposium for garrison leaders, energy managers and German civilian energy experts at Patrick Henry Village in Heidelberg, Sept. 11.
The purpose of the symposium was to assemble experts from the public and private sectors to discuss renewable and alternative energy, and expand their knowledge of how to best apply creativity, strategy and technology to sustainable energy practices.
The special guest and keynote speaker was Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment.
Hammack is the primary advisory to the Secretary of the Army and the Chief of Staff of the Army on all Army matters related to installation policy, oversight and coordination of energy security and management.
In her remarks, Hammack highlighted the importance of focusing Army efforts in developing energy efficiency.
"Without energy the Army stands still and silent," said Hammack.
Hammack said the Army continues to transform, but the reduction of U.S. Army forces in Europe is close to reaching the end state.
"As we continue to work through this (transformation), the message I want to communicate is that the Army is going to be here," she said. "We do have enduring sites, and it's those enduring sites that we have a focused mission to go toward net zero and to increase our use of renewable energy and alternative energy.
"We know that our Army's mission is not one that's going to go away, so we need to ensure that we have access to sources of energy that are just as infinite as we consider the Army's mission to be," she continued. "We need to continue to figure out how we can generate reliable power on site using natural resources."
Hammack said that every Soldier in the U.S. Army from private to general has to understand that energy and sustainability is an integral part of their mission.
"When we take a look at renewable energy on Army installations, we must first ensure what we are doing does not compromise the Army mission and security at that location," she explained.
For example, she said that energy suppliers have requested to construct a large solar array on a training range, which would compromise the primary mission.
"With that being said, we have a lot of buildings with roofs available," she said. "We have a lot of parking lots that could be covered. And, yes, we do have those areas, those standoff areas around the edges of our installations that are prime targets for renewable energy opportunities. That's what we want to leverage."
She said she believes that the Army's programs are directly in line with many of the objectives of our European allies.
"While certain aspects may change because of unique circumstances with European regulations, the basic structure holds the potential to guide our European installations to a more energy secure and sustainable future," Hammack said. "But what I hope is that solutions to these problems are discussed here today, and that we can come to a consensus on a path forward that benefits the vendors, our partners, the private sector and this country.'
Hammack ended her remarks with a quote from Albert Einstein.
"The world will not evolve past its current state of crisis by using the same thinking that created the situation."
"We need to do things differently," said Hammack. "We need to figure out what the barriers are, and then figure out how working together we can get around them. We need your ideas. We need your participation to help accelerate our progress."
The rest of the symposium consisted of panel discussions with garrison commanders, and garrison and private sector energy experts including representatives from the Army Corps of Engineers.
The symposium concluded with an agreement to set up a communication network so that symposium participants can continue the discussion about renewable and alternative energy.
After the symposium ended Hammack had a message for Soldiers and their families living in Europe.
"You need to consider resources in everything you do," she said. "Although it is not as critical here, we need to think of energy as a resource to be valued. Water as a resource to be valued. Waste to be minimized, because when you better manage resources, you are leaving resources for future generations. That's something that I think everybody needs to think about."
"Minimization of waste. Minimization of water consumption. Minimization of energy consumption. You're ensuring that you and your family will have a better life now and in the future," said Hammack.