Friday, October 14, 2011

DOD Energy Use Underreported

DOD’s Annual Energy Management Reports were used to give an overall picture of DOD energy consumption by mode and source. They contained tables on energy use in installations, tactical and non-tactical vehicles. These tables involved information about the costs, site delivered energy consumption by energy type in original units as well as in the Btu equivalent. Besides an estimated source energy equivalent in Btu terms was also give. There was also an estimate of CO2 emissions.

Now things have changed. DoD energy management has become fragmented. We have now two heads, one responsible from facilities energy, and the other from operational energy. This is why the latest DOD Annual Energy Management Report (AEMR) focuses only on facilities energy, even though the title remained the same.

On the cover page of the report it states that “Preparation of this study/report cost the Department of Defense a total of approximately $633,321 for the 2011 Fiscal Year.” This is a huge sum of money in which you cannot see an overall picture of how much energy the DOD used by fuel type and how much CO2 emissions it released by consuming that energy.
DOD officials should make sure that whichever figure they mention in public speeches and reports indeed refer to site delivered and purchased energy only. Or they must mention that the statistics they give are part of the total DOD energy use.

If you care about energy statistics you need to focus on the tables in Appendix B. There you will find some data, albeit less detailed than those in previous years’ reports.
Here are my overall remarks, critics and questions about the DoD energy statistics reported in Appendix B, which is used by every single senior DOD official. Therefore I address them particularly to William Lynn (Deputy Secretary of Defense) and Sharon Burke (Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy Plans and Programs) as well as to the people who prepared the DOD AEMR2010.

1.       In the table for “Goal Subject Buildings” given in Appendix B: Why the sum of annual cost and consumption by energy type do not add up to total? Total delivered Btu is reported as 210,691 but the sum of individual components equal to 210,095. Similarly, the sum of total cost gives $3,507,487, and not $3,551,476. As a result, overall total cost and site delivered Btu are incorrect.

2.       Why are energy consumption in original units, corresponding estimated source BTU, and yes, also estimated CO2 emissions not given anymore? 

3.       I understand that AEMR only considers site delivered energy that is purchased. What happened to on site generated electricity? Isn’t it consumed? Or DOD doesn’t produce any electricity on its sites?

4.       Similarly, the DOD doesn’t report any nuclear electricity and heat consumption. I assume it doesn’t report because it is not site delivered and also not purchased. But I do not understand why the DoD neglects electricity consumption in its 11 aircraft carriers and 71 submarines. But how can we ignore the energy produced by its 103 nuclear reactor?

5.       Why does the DOD insist on underreporting its total energy consumption? According to my very rough estimates including nuclear electricity would increased the DoD’s site delivered energy consumption by almost 10% and source Btu by about 20%. If done like that, the share of electricity in DoD’s energy consumption would increase from merely 12% to 33%. And share of oil would decrease from 77% to 58%.

6.       This would be bad for political image I guess. The DoD push for biofuels would be damaged. A senior official would of course be less convincing had s/he said that oil accounts a bit higher than half of DoD energy consumption, rather three-quarters.

7.       In all the previous AEMRs the original unit of category “other” in the “non-fleet vehicles and other equipment” table was reported in terms of Btu. Now it is reported as Btu. Does that mean that DoD does not use anything else than liquids fuels in its non-fleet vehicles (i.e., tactical vehicles)?

8.       Does the DoD consume any in-kind power of fuel (i.e., not paid for), especially overseas? If yes, where is this fuel accounted for in AEMR?

9.       Where does the DoD count the amount of fuel used by generators? Under tactical vehicles?

10.   Does the DoD take into account the amount of electricity used in privatized or contracted buildings in its energy consumption?
I would be grateful if the DOD could enlighten me on these point.



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