Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Army Installations Energy Surge

Had the privilege and pleasure of attending an Army Bloggers Roundtable today with the following Army energy leaders:
  • Maj. Gen. Dana J. H. Pittard, Deputy Chief of Staff, G3, United States Army Training and Doctrine Command
  • Maj. Gen. Howard Bromberg, Commanding General, Fort Bliss
  • Mr. Jerry Hansen, Army Senior Energy Executive, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Strategic Infrastructure
  • Dr. Kevin Geiss, Program Director for Army Energy Security
Mr. Hansen began with this outstanding (IMHO) opening salvo:
[The Army views] energy security as a critical mission enabler and an operational imperative, which can provide the Army with an essential tactical advantage. Our Army installations, our tactical operations, soldier training all require secure and uninterrupted access to energy. Our current dependence on fossil fuels and the vulnerable electric power grid jeopardize the security of Army installations and mission capabilities. Also, long liquid fuel logistical supply chains and convoys pose serious risk to contingency operations and increase the vulnerability of our deployed forces.
Each speaker then shared a few words, then the session was opened up for Q&A. Here are the take-aways I captured, short and sweet:
  • Straddling west Texas and southrrn New Mexico and as bigger than Rhode Island, Fort Bliss is following an ambitious plan to deploy capture energy efficiency gains, deploy substantial amounts of alternative and renewable energy generation, and in-so-doing, become one of the DOD's first NetZero installations
  • Intent is to be holistic at Fort Bliss, meaning, not deploy a bunch of independent, disconnected pilot projects. But rather, build out new Smart / microgrid energy infrastructure as one large, interconnected system
  • Fort Irwin continues its 500 MW solar build-out in California
  • Hawthorne Army Depot in Nevada will get 30 MWs of geothermal power soon - enough to supply the full "base load" of the base
  • Energy security continues to be a secondary or tertiary driver for these initiatives. ROI-driven business cases, leveraging public-private partnerships, tax incentives, etc., help these projects come to fruition
Note: for related Army energy strategy info, see recent DEB post on Army Renewable Energy Rodeo, here. And click here for the full roundtable transcript.

Photo credit: Solar Feeds

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