Thursday, July 30, 2009

GovEnergy's Upcoming Energy Security Game

A few weeks ago the National Defense University sponsored the first DOD "Grid Game" to test how different agencies would react to scenarios of greater and lesser impact to the electric grid. Some observations and lessons learned are forthcoming, I believe.

Next, however, the upcoming GovEnergy conference will feature a 90-minute game to examine energy challenges and options more broadly and in more domains (energy is just one of them, others that impact energy such as: the economy, society, ecology, technology are also included ... and wait till you see the wild cards!) And the scope is across the Federal Government. Participants have the opportunity to apply their energy security knowledge through a series of energy security games based on "real world" scenarios.

These are the early days of energy war gaming, but with these two events in close succession, we're off to a pretty good start in 2009. Will be at the conference and will post the results here when ready. Click here for a 1-page overview ... and please try to attend if you can.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Updated: USMC Energy Summit: 13 August 2009

31 Jul 09 Update: Here's a link you can follow for more info on this conference as well as to register in advance.


A one-day energy summit has been announced, open to all who care to attend. It's titled: "Lightening the Load--Reducing the Footprint in the Expeditionary Environment - A National Security Imperative for Success." Here's more info from the announcement:
The Commandant of the Corps is hosting a one day Energy Summit to elevate awareness and understanding of what the Marine Corps is doing to reduce energy consumption and reliance on fossil fuels, what we are experimenting with, and what our energy challenges are. The topics discussed will cover operating in a expeditionary environment (lightening the load, reducing energy inefficient battlefield designs), and energy challenges at installations (attaining self sufficiency, sustainability, and reducing installation vulnerabilities).
Keynote Speakers include: National Security Advisor, Gen (ret) James L. Jones (invited), Secretary of the Navy, The Honorable Raymond Edwin Mabus, and Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen James T. Conway
Location: Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Job Alert: Air Force Seeking Energy Expert

To help get the word out, this post forwards yesterday's notice describing an opportunity for an energy executive. Sound like anyone you know? Here it is, with contact information at the end:
Recently we issued an announcement asking for interest/resumes for a full time HQE duties for the new SECAF authorized AF Energy Office just beginning to stand up  here in the Pentagon. Now we have a new requirement for a PART TIME HQE. An HQE is a person who will be working for this office for a 2-3 year period at a Senior Executive Service salary. The ability to obtain a Secret Security Clearance is a requirement.  Persons with a current security clearance are preferred, but it is not a requirement. 
The PART TIME HQE will have an office in the Pentagon and will be asked to assume a senior technical role in the AF Energy Office in any one of a variety of areas (climate change, alternative fuels, etc). The individual we are seeking should have extensive energy knowledge in one or more of the following areas: Climate change, DoD installation energy, the electric grid (relative to DCIP), alternative fuels, energy Technology, energy related RDT&E, analytical processes (metric measurement, modeling and simulation, etc.), behavior sciences (culture change), etc. And, while Pentagon experience is desirable, it is not a requirement as energy experience in other Departments/areas of government and/or industry will be highly valued.  The individual selected for this part-time position should have superb executive communications skills as it is envisioned he or she will have frequent contact with AF senior leaders and will also be called upon to represent AF energy positions to Congress, GAO, OMB, OSD, the Joint Staff, sister Services, other Departments (DoE, DHS, State) and industry.          
Should you know of any individuals who might be interested, I would appreciate he or she providing me a resume at the email address below. I would also be glad to answer any questions.  ______________________________
David M. King
Director, Energy Policy, SAF/IEE 
Phone:  (703) 697-1207 (DSN 227); Rm 4B941 
On the web: 

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Woolsey Advocates Microgrids for Energy Security and Survivability, but is Storage Tech Ready?

This account of a recent appearance by Green Hawk and former CIA Director Jim Woolsey sounds good. His messages about lessening dependence on oil and coal appeal to everyone, except for maybe those whose livelihoods depend on those products.

In this and other blogs I've noted the advantages of microgrids that can be run independently of the larger grid infrastructure when necessary, isolating themselves to keep electrons flowing when their users would otherwise experience brown outs or black outs. For DOD, this would help solve the Defense Science Board (DSB)-identified challenge of bases' reliance on the brittle national grid. For the US, if deployed widely in many if not most communities, it would greatly curtail the threat of large, regional power-loss events.

Here's Woolsey on the topic:
Microgrids, which include their own backup storage systems and generation resources and can island themselves from the grid, enable organizations or homeowners to keep vital services going in the event of grid outages caused by accidents or terrorist activities.
Maybe his words were taken out of context, but it sounds like, according to Woolsey, storage is ready to go for this application. I'd like to hear much more about energy storage systems, high tech (fly wheels, advanced batteries, hydrogen, etc.) and low tech (proven batteries, pumping water up-hill, compressed air, etc.) being ready for prime time microgrid use at scales that matter. Here's the article I'm referencing. What do you think?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Rocky Mountain High

(click picture to greatly enlarge)

I'm going off the grid to recharge the batts for a week next week, so the DOD Energy Blog won't have any new posts till late July. In the meantime, if you like power or pasta, eggplant or energy, don't forget the 2009 GovEnergy Conference coming up in Providence, RI, 9-12 August. (Previous post on this conference explains the Italian food fixation.)

In case you're curious, the Aspen Ranger Station guide to where I'll be hiking is here.

Photo: Julie Penner

Thursday, July 16, 2009

USAF Mid 2009 Energy Plan Update

Linked here you'll find a slide deck outlining the current state of Air Force energy plans and policy in the context of the Leadership's overarching goals and priorities. In particular, I like this slide for its audacious attempt to boil down the massive complexities involved into lines of action mere mortals can understand: 1) Reduce Demand, 2) Increase Supply, and 3) Change the Culture (Culture Change).

All the right stuff, if done with vigor today and baked into force planning and war gaming for tomorrow's Air Force. As I see it, my job is to continue to nudge AF leadership and energy personnel to bring the last slides' "over the horizon issues" into the planning foreground as soon as possible. Here's the full presentation.

Federal Government Smart Grid Security Wake-Up Call

In case you don't know, I started another blog recently, called the Smart Grid Security Blog. I generally try to keep the DOD Energy world separate from the Smart Grid Security world, but as you can imagine, there are undeniable points of intersection.

Here's a post linking to a very well framed recent article by a colleague of mine. It's a great summary of key cyber security issues and actions for Smart Grid initiates. And the strategies it recommends are as applicable to Fed Gov and DOD as they are to all sectors. Think about the security controls being built in (or left out) of new DOD and DOE garrison-level microgrid deployments such as the one discussed here.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Microgrid Proving Ground for DOD Facility Energy Security

This article in earth2tech describes the award of a microgrid demonstration project to GE citing the following faulty rationale:
Military bases are largely in remote locations and have to be prepared for events that could potentially separate them from the greater power grid.
No offense, but it's not grid separation anxiety that's keeping Commanders awake at night, it's the lack of robustness of the grid itself. As the DSB 2008 energy report (and just about everyone else) warned, bases have made themselves far too dependent on the often wobbly grid.

Hopefully this project at the Marine Corp's huge Twentynine Palms installation and others like it herald change by giving bases the capability to become electricity islands when necessary. Here's a write-up on GE's own blog with a little more detail.

Monday, July 13, 2009

DOD Vehicle Electricity Presentation by MARCORSYSCOM

All DOD vehicles are getting hungrier for electricity. Or you might say, DOD is demanding more electricity from its vehicles, as this great presentation from IDGA's 2008 Tactical Vehicles Summit graphically illustrates. It's a narrated slide deck, and well worth your while: here.

Note, this stuff is not to be confused with plug-in hybrids and full electric vehicles. These are all gas burners, which like their distant relatives in utilities (co-generation) and homes (micro co-generation), extract multiple forms of power goodness (e.g. heat, mechanical energy, electricity) from combustion.

Presentation & Chart: from Michael Gallagher

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Seven Step FBCF Methodology and the JLTV

A search yesterday on FBCF (the Fully Burdened Cost of Fuel) yielded this recent Powerpoint from the Army's Office of Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army-Cost and Economic (ODASA-CE) from the DOD Cost Analysis Symposium (DODCAS) held earlier this year.

The source is the OSD-PA&E methodology defined in a Director of OSD-PA&E memorandum dated 11 July 2007. Each of these steps warrants a drill down in future posts, but for now, here's the structure:
Seven-Step OSD PA&E FBCF Methodology
  1. Commodity Cost of Fuel - the Defense Energy Supply Center (DESC) standard price for the appropriate type or types of fuel
  2. Primary Fuel Delivery Asset O&S Cost - the cost of operating service-owned fuel delivery assets including the cost of military and civilian personnel dedicated to the fuel delivery mission
  3. Depreciation Cost of Primary Fuel Delivery Assets - a measurement of the decline in value of fuel delivery assets with finite service lives using straight-line depreciation over total service life
  4. Direct Fuel Infrastructure O&S and Recapitalization Cost - the cost of fuel infrastructure that is not operated by DESC and directly tied to energy delivery
  5. Indirect Fuel Infrastructure O&S Cost - the cost of base infrastructure that is shared proportionally among all base tenants
  6. Environmental Cost - the cost representing carbon trading credit prices, hazardous waste control and related subjects
  7. Other Service & Platform Delivery Specific Costs - this step includes potential costs associated with delivering fuel such as convey escort, force protection, regulatory compliance, contracting, and other costs as appropriate
The Army is out in front bringing these methods to its JLTV program, and pledging to share its lessons learned with the other services. It's good to see evidence that some of the guidance from the two DSB Energy Task Force reports as well as the most recent NDAA is being acted upon.

Photo: Lockheed Martin

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Orbits in Vogue in Air Forces Old and New - Implications for Energy and Force Planners?

Choose whatever metaphor you like: sprinters vs. long distance runners; the tortoise and the hare. We are in a liminal zone where supersonic manned aircraft, while not likely to go extinct anytime soon, certainly seem poised to cede control over a great deal of airspace to their more plodding, but persistent unmanned rivals. Here's how the well informed War Is Boring bloggers see it:
As fighters fade, armed surveillance orbits take their place. These orbits can be scaled, according to the threat. You want airborne sensors, capable of loitering for hours, and in many cases able to attack, on short notice.
This article is particularly thought provoking as it describes building two new Air Forces from scratch in Iraq and Lebanon in the era of emerging drone dominance. However, whenever I post on UAVs (which is often, most recently here), I'm not pretending to bring any answers to the table. And what's right for these clean slate forces almost certainly is not right for us. But imagine:
  • You're a strategic planner in the Pentagon and you've been tasked with constructing combat scenarios 5, 10, 20 years out
  • And imagine you're supposed to be thinking about requirements for airborne tankers, as some most definitely are these days
  • Well, how do you modify the proven formulas for calculating how many tankers are required and how much fuel is going to be needed in a combat zone for a given scenario when, by the time we get there, the numbers of very thirsty manned fighters, fighter bombers and surveillance and reconnaissance planes is falling linearly? and ...
  • Their smaller, lightweight, fuel stingy replacements are coming on in exponential waves and are staying in the air for days?
  • And when I say smaller, consider the MAVs - micro air vehicles the size of small birds - described in a recent AFRL report on UAVs covered in the Air Force Times
  • Not to mention the question of where the fuel is going to come from ... and from what (if other than extracts of prehistoric vegetation) it will be made?
  • Will there even be a need for tankers for UAVs and MAVs? Will the tankers also be autonomous?
As before, all I can say is "to be continued ..."

Photo of Orbiter micro UAV: Defense Update

Monday, July 6, 2009

GovEnergy 2009 Conference Announcement

Just one hour South by car from the DOD Energy Blogger's Boston HQ, Providence is a great pick for the12th annual GovEnergy conference this year, 9 - 12 Aug. In addition to a long list of energy tech and services exhibitors, the tracks look great, including this one on Energy Security.

And once your brain is full, you'll need some fuel for the soul. Walking distance from the Rhode Island Convention Center is Providence's famous Federal Hill district, home to some of the finest Italian restaurants on the planet. Yelp can help you figure out which one sounds best for you.

Click here to register, and hope to see you there.

Photo: Providence DOJ

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Cyber Security Wake-up Call on DOD Facilities Control Systems

For some, the title of this post won't make the connection to DOD energy issues immediately obvious. Well, all I can say is: think about the Smart Grid, the growing melange of old world electric grid systems and cutting edge networking and Web 2.0 software systems.

Then consider the DSB-identified brittle grid challenge to DOD bases: "Critical missions at fixed installations are at unacceptable risk from extended power loss" and the various smart and micro grid solutions being considered to help isolate them via "islanding." See this presentation delivered at the June 2009 Air Force Cyber Security Symposium for a solid intro.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

DOD's Transformers: Creating the Next Generation of Cleantech Warriors

NDU's Energy Security and Policy Chair Richard Andres has just penned a nice post at Global Security on DOD's role in changing the energy consciousness of two cultures:
  1. Its own - a work in progress but picking up speed every day as increasing numbers of service men and women are indoctrinated; and,
  2. The USA - the primary reservoir of and repository for DOD talent
Here, Andres lays out the logic ... and the math:
Militaries are good at creating cultural mindsets. They do it through boot camp, through war colleges, through constant repetition of messages and many other tried and proven methods. Each year the services take in hundreds of thousands (my emphasis) of young men and women and inculcate in them values they carry for the rest of their lives. Each year an equal number of servicemen and women exchange their uniform for business clothes and rejoin civilian society. Now that it has officially decided to go green, the organization that produces the dedicated men and women we see fighting the nation's wars today will work to produce a generation of leaders who will help to solve America and the world's energy and environmental challenges tomorrow.
Click here to read the whole thing.

Photo: CNET covering a recent welcoming session for a future energy warrior at my Rocky Mountain alma mater.