Thursday, July 06, 2006

US Army Energy Policy

The US Army Center for Public Works (CPW) is responsible for implementing Army energy policy and provides technical assistance for all aspects of the energy program. CPW has designated the Army Engineering Support Center, Huntsville as the center for expertise. Additionally, the US Army Construction Engineering Research Laboratory provides assistance in the technology transfer and Research and Development areas.

Back in 2002, Dale Herron wrote an article called “Energy in a New Era of Army Installations” in Engineering Automation Research Update. The article discussed energy research by the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC).

He started with: “Energy represents a critical asset to mission readiness, both today and as installations transform. A safe, reliable energy infrastructure and dependable, long-term energy supply will be paramount to the transformed installations’ success in housing, training, and deploying the force. Future Combat Systems may demand new types of energy delivery or support strategies.”

And ended with: “Energy security will clearly be a key aspect of the Nation’s energy focus for the foreseeable future. Energy conservation and sustainable design will also continue to be important. Thus, the collective challenge now is to address the need for a safe and reliable energy infrastructure and a dependable, long-term energy supply without losing the successes achieved for energy conservation and sustainable design.”

Construction Engineering Research Laboratory of US Army Corps of Engineers gives “Increased energy security and decreased dependence on fossil fuels” as two major objectives of the new Army Energy Strategy for Installations.

Both objctives suggest that the Army consider diversifying its current use of the local electric utility for primary power and engine-driven generators for emergency back-up power, which calls for including renewable energy systems such as wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass, and other advanced distributed generation (DG) technologies such as fuel cells and microturbines.

It is further argues that increased energy reliability and security can be achieved by networking these power systems together in an "intelligent" microgrid. This concept is built on the philosophy that, "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts." Instead of using energy security, on the other hand, they prefer using energy “surety”.

Energy “surety” is a term that has been derived from defense applications to characterize energy systems. It incorporates a variety of factors including security, reliability, safety, sustainability and cost effectiveness. An energy system is said to have high levels of “surety” if it delivers the energy product to the end user while meeting all of the surety elements.

In fact, the Army's efforts are shaped around the Army Energy Strategy for Installations (signed on 8 July 2005) and the Army Energy and Water Campaign Plan for Installations, covering 25 year time span.

The goals of Energy Strategy are (a) to eliminate/reduce energy waste in existing facilities; (b) to increase energy efficiency in new/renovated construction; (c) to reduce dependence on fossil fuels; (d) to conserve water resources; and (e) to improve energy security. The Campaign Plan is a detailed road map for achieving that Energy Strategy and is currently under development. See, Army Energy and Water Management Program for updates.

A paper called “A Candidate Army Energy and Water Management Strategy” in August 2004 by Westervelt and Fournier (U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center) framed the energy environment and the role of oil (including a brief discussion of peak oil) and laid the background of the Campaign Plan. The detailed analysis around energy efficiency[1] convinced the authors that efficiency is the cheapest, fastest and cleanest source of new energy.

Another report, called “Energy Trends and Their Implications for U.S. Army Installations[2] by the same authors in September 2005 concentrates only on all major renewable and non-renewable energy options. They argue that “world oil production is at or near its peak.” Since "currently, there is no viable substitute for petroleum,” and “current trends are not sustainable” they suggest Army “insulate itself from the economic and logistical energy-related problems coming in the near to mid future. This requires a transition to modern, secure, and efficient energy systems, and to building technologies that are safe and environmental friendly.”

They come to the conclusion that "renewables tend to be a more local or regional commodity and except for a few instances, not necessarily a global resource that is traded between nations." They add that “there is no perfect energy source; all are used at a cost.”

They see energy efficiency and renewable sources as the best options, but put energy efficiency in front because it is “the least expensive, most readily available, and environmentally friendly way to stretch our current energy supplies.”

They suggest "it is time to think strategically about energy and how the Army should respond to the global and national energy picture.” In addition, they suggest to act now “to develop the technology and infrastructure necessary to transition to other energy sources,” and to begin the process which would enact the changes to happen in time.

The Department of the Army's FY 2005 Annual Energy Report, the FY 2005 scorecard, the FY 2006 Implementation Plan, as well as Army Energy Program Newsletter is not available to public. Army’s efforts on Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency, including Sustainable Installations, and several technical documents are also mostly not available to public. Would be nice to know what they contain.

Available sources mention that through FY 2005 the Army has made substantial progress in meeting key energy goals by reducing energy use in standard buildings by 29.4% from the FY1985 baseline; reducing energy use in industrial facilities 52.1% from the 1990 baseline; reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 34% since 1990 which already exceeds the goal of a 30% reduction by FY2010.

But note that Army’s share in DoD’s total energy consumption is less than 10%.

[1] “Winning the Oil Endgame,” conducted in 2004 by Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute, at the Pentagon’s behest, goes into much more detail.. He identifies some key technology investments in various development stage which could significantly improve military weapon system efficiency and operational performance.
[2] See also: Summary in Energy Bulletin and A powerpoint presentation.

Previously on "Sohbet Karbuz": Department of Defense Energy Policy

see you where parallels intersect.


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