Wednesday, April 27, 2011

CNAS Focusing on Smart Grid Security

As you know, it's rare for me to make the same post on both blogs. But rare means infrequent, not never, and so here you go:

The DC-based Center for New American Security (CNAS), host of the excellent Natural Security blog that highlights the security interconnectedness of many different domains, is having a Smart Grid Security week. You'll note their particular interest in critical infrastructure in general, and DOD in particular.

And of course, I warm to this part of their non-alarmist opening statement:
Today, we’re beginning to get a better sense of the ground truth, ever-moving as it is. About a month ago we held a workshop on smart grid tech and cyber security, with a great cross-section of experts. My main takeaways were that there are real cyber threats in considering smart grid deployment, but that there are many USG efforts underway to mitigate and manage the risks. The holes that exist seem to be things like improving coordination within DOD on grid security, ensuring interagency communication, and setting consistent standards for DOD contracts that include smart grid and electric infrastructure work (and hopefully standards more rigorous than for anywhere else).
See announcement HERE. And stay tuned for their follow-on posts ... there are already some new ones today.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Final Veil: Army Announces Net Zero "Winners"

Today in sunny San Antonio, the ASA, IE&E dropped the seventh veil and revealed the names of the 17 Army/Joint installations selected for the Net Zero Energy, Water and/or Waste contest. With over 100 applicants in the three categories, the winners are as follows (drum roll please):

A Net Zero Energy Installation produces as much energy on site as it uses, over the course of a year. The Army's Pilot Net Zero Energy Installations are:

  1. Fort Detrick, MD
  2. Fort Hunter Liggett, CA
  3. Kwajalein Atoll, RMI
  4. Parks Reserve Forces Training Area, Ca
  5. Sierra Army Depot, CA
  6. West Point, NY.

Additionally, the Oregon Army National Guard has volunteered to pilot a unique and challenging Net Zero Energy initiative, which includes all of their installations spread across the entire state. This strategy will be included in the environmental analysis.

A Net Zero Water Installation limits the consumption of freshwater resources and returns water back to the same watershed so as not to deplete the groundwater and surface water resources of that region in quantity and quality over the course of a year. The Pilot Net Zero Water Installations are:

  1. Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD
  2. Camp Rilea, OR
  3. Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico;
  4. Fort Riley, KS
  5. Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA
  6. Tobyhanna Army Depot, PA.

A Net Zero Waste Installation reduces, reuses, and recovers waste streams, converting them to resource values with zero landfill over the course of a year. The Army's Pilot Net Zero Waste Installations are:

  1. Fort Detrick, MD*
  2. Fort Hood, TX
  3. Fort Hunter Liggett, CA*
  4. Fort Polk, LA;
  5. Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA*
  6. US Army Garrison, Grafenwoehr, Germany.

Net Zero Installation is comprised of three interrelated components: Net Zero Energy, Net Zero Water, and Net Zero Waste. Two installations have volunteered to be integrated Net Zero Installations:

  1. Fort Bliss, TX
  2. Fort Carson, CO.

At a later briefing by the DASA, E&S a timeline for NEPA was shown that indicated that the intent was to begin site specific NEPA work as early as November 2011. Since site specific work cannot be done until a project is selected and all projects will be funded via ESCP, UESC or EUL, the timeline to get RFPs out, proposals back, down selection and contracting is very tight. This, coupled with the fact that IMCOM has to reduce its civilian work force by 10,000 by October 2011 according the LTG Lynch, IMCOM CG, means a very aggressive timeline to accomplish fearsomely complex contracting with less folks to do it. I hope the benefits of being selected for this pilot program are worth it. I am reminded of the old say, “Be careful what you wish for; you might get it”. Dan Nolan

*Winner in two categories

Acronym Soup:

ASA, IE&E – Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installation, Energy and Environment

DASA, E&S – Deputy Secretary of the Army for Energy and Sustainability

NEPA – National Environmental Protection Act

ESCP – Energy Savings Performance Contract

UESC – Utilities Energy Services Contract

EUL - Enhanced Use Lease

IMCOM – Installation Management Command

Conference Alert: Trail Blazers and Super Highways at E2DS Conference

On 3 and 4 May 2011, IHS and Jane’s will host the Energy, Environment, Defense and Security 2011 Conference in Washington D.C. The intent of the conference is to engage the aerospace, defense and security business centers in energy, environment and counter climate change markets. Many of the larger, traditionally defense oriented businesses have begun to engage in the energy security market and this conference looks at how to leverage their proven expertise to address the security, economic and environmental challenges we face.
The themes for this conference are:
  • The unique capabilities of the aerospace, defense and security sector: system-of-systems analysis and integration, systems engineering and C2 expertise applied to energy and environmental management
  • Earth observation – the sector’s top-down contribution to our understanding of the environment and starting point for collaboration with academia and government
  • The scale of the environmental challenge – what we know and what we don’t know and how the aerospace and defense sector can contribute
  • National and international energy security plans – the key role of the aerospace, defense and security sector, in tandem with armed forces, in securing energy supply
  • The need for collaboration between science, politics and the private sector worldwide – and how, where and why this is already happening in key areas
  • Innovation from within the A&D industry and from the cross-fertilization of ideas with other sectors: for example, financial, general engineering, utilities and insurance

The DOD Energy Blog is often asked to help spread the word on conferences of this sort and we try to help where appropriate. When Nick Cook from Dynamixx called to provide the information on the conference, I unloaded on him. As the larger defense firms begin to engage in this vital area, they will find lots of small business blazing the trails. The concern for small business is that the larger firms will come in and build super highways on the trails blazed. When the industry behemoths become engaged (which is a good thing) they have their own gravitational field and tend to move things. Things like the cost to attend conferences.

As a small business owner, it is financially tough to participate in these conferences, track the changes and interact with the larger firms engaged in this work. A grand to a small business is a significant chunk of the business development budget. Much to my surprise, Mr. Cook listened.
Government and Military get in for free and now, small business can get a reduced rate. If you are a small business, please contact Nick Cook at for a reduced rate. I am pleased that the big boys are getting into the fight. Small business is and will continue to be the back bone of the American economy and this effort by Dynamixx helps level the playing field. Thanks, Nick! Dan Nolan

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Scouts Out! New Intel on DOD Smart Grid

Every now and then the Cavalry Scouts out there come across a great piece of intel and share same. I have a special place in my heart for Cavalrymen. I like to say that I was raised by them, but that I am ok now. has an excellent piece on DOD efforts on smart grid activities. The key to energy security is the smart grid. Demand reduction is critical and every location has some type of renewable energy potential, but if you do not have the means to optimize the balance between supply and demand, we are back to what John Spiller likes to call the "Swartzkopf method of providing power". The Swartzkopf method goes like this: "Tell me what your peak load is, then I will provide that generation and double if for back up". It is how we get 19Mw of production at Camp Leatherneck to meet a 5MW load (long since fixed). By DOD standards, this is a small contract, but anything that moves the team closer to the goal line is worth doing. The inclusion of a storage systems can help intermittent renewables serve around the clock. The challenge there is getting that stored power back at a reasonable price. The system is also intended to allow recharging of electric vehicles, another key step in fusing the transportation systems with the electrical grid.

Since this is happening at Wheeler Army Airfield, I am assuming this is part of the SPIDERS JCTD. Anyone with better intel, please comment. The article also has a link to a piece that discusses the Installation Test Bed Program, mention here a couple of weeks ago. The $30 million requested in the FY2012 budget for this program appears to have materialized as around $36M after the last CR and Defense Budget was passed. Anyone with better intel, please comment.

In the last couple of posts there have been undefined or ill defined acronyms. Alert readers have commented on those and I have tried to circle back and fix those errors. I will include undefined acronyms at the end of each piece in the future. All of the comments, even the anatomically impossible ones, have been helpful; keep 'em coming! Next week, I will be at the AUSA ILW Installations Symposium and Exposition and will report from there. Dan Nolan

Acronym Soup
  • SPIDERS: Smart Power Infrastructure Demonstration for Energy Reliability and Security
  • JCTD: Joint Capabilities Technology Demonstation

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Bashing the Square on Energy: Learning the Drill

Only those who have served with or in the British Army might pick up the reference, but Dina Fine Maron's piece in the NYT describes the challenges faced in deploying new energy technologies outside the traditional acquisition and R&D systems. If you don't know the drill, you can't execute the facing movements required. Although quoted therein, my judgement remains objective! Read on. Dan Nolan

Photo Courtesy of BBC

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Open Kimonos and Bureaucratic Titans: Making Army Net Zero Work

In the spirit of the “open kimono” the Army opened up last week to reveal…..another kimono. On 5 April the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment, Ms. Katherine Hammack and the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Energy and Partnership held a bloggers roundtable. The purpose of the event was to discuss the announcement of the installations selected in the Net Zero Energy, Water and Waste competition. Plan is for five in each of the three categories. The goal is to accomplish this by 2020. Ms. Hammack stated that she would announce the winners on 19 April at the AUSA ILW Army Installations Symposium and Exposition. The news here is how this program is to be funded.Existing Authorities!

Ok, no real shocker there. This is recognition of the need to accomplish the task with dwindling resources. The challenge will be to streamline the processes to be able to get to the Net Zero goals by 2020. From the vision statement, the Army said:
The Army is leveraging available authorities for private sector investment, including using power purchase agreements (PPA), enhanced-use leases (EUL), energy savings performance contracts (ESPC), and utilities energy service contracts (UESCs) as tools to achieve these objectives.
Third party financing has many obstacles. PPAs require cooperation of the utilities and electricity produced at competitive rates. EULs require a PPA to work and PPA may not be economic. ESPCs require measurement and verification performed by the same vendor who performed the work, a bit off putting for some commanders. UESCs require no M&V at all. All physical work done on federal property requires National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) work, which if left to the contractor, increases the cost of the project (if the government picks up work it can be done cheaper and faster). An example of the contractor having to bite that bullet is the Fort Irwin effort. In that case, an EUL is used, coupled with a PPA. According to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' paper, this $2 billion/13 year 500MW solar project, begun in December 2008 is now in the second year of what is hoped to be a two year NEPA permitting process.

Granted that this is a HUGE project, it still takes four to five years to get to the point that a shovel goes into the ground. That will be true of any size project. A current UESC with which I am very familiar, has been ongoing for two years without dirt moving. Of course we are looking for agility in a partnership between utilities and the government, two of the largest bureaucracies on the planet. ESPCs are already awarded contracts to sixteen large companies and small business nips at their heels to get noticed and for the opportunity for scraps of work. ESPCs and UESCs are Department of Energy contracts and streamlining them must come from DOE. According to the ASA’s office, they are working very closely with DOE on this. Seems as if Mr. Kidd still has friends at FEMP!

The Army has consolidated operational and installation energy policy under Ms. Hammack. Unity of command is always a good idea. The challenge comes in the execution. Policy charts the course, but the hand on the tiller must be an implementer. For installation energy, that is clearly LTG Lynch, CG of IMCOM…. or LTG Van Antwerp, USACOE if it is new construction.

On the operational side, the Army has no central focus. It must be divided up among the various acquisition entities that move at their own institutional pace. Recently the ASD, OEPP touted the deployment of the Advanced Medium Mobile Power Sources (AMMPS) as a great energy savings tool, which it will be. But, the AMMPS has been in PM, Mobile Electric Power’s product development line over a decade. It is difficult to find an energy innovation deployed by the Army since Marine General Zilmer asked for some help in 2006. Unless there is an organization with a uniformed lead, execution will continue to seriously lag policy. Dan Nolan

Undefined Acronyms:
AUSA: Association of the United States Army
ILW: Institute of Land Warfare
PM: Program Manager
IMCOM: Installation Management Command
FEMP: Federal Energy Management Program

Monday, April 4, 2011

Energy Innovation: Operations and Installations

This past week I attended the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation hosted conference entitled "Operation Energy Innovation: A Stronger, Smarter Fighting Force". The intent for the program was to examine how "DOD can play a prime role in accelerating cleantech development".

The agenda kicked off with a brief hello from Congressman J. Randy Forbes (R-VA). A recent article by Congressman Forbes highlighted his concern that DOD should have their feet held to the fire on energy projects. Simply being “green” is not enough. He cited one Navy project that apparently had a 477 year payback period. I am not sure that anyone is DOD is doing “art for art sake”. His message was that DOD could play a role in innovation, but its job was not to bridge the valley of death for developers. He is a big fan of the ExFOB, but who isn’t? They don’t write policy. They just get stuff done.

Congressman Forbes was followed by Senator Mark Udall who talked about his intent to reintroduce the Department of Defense Energy Security Act when its co-sponsor Congresswoman Gabby Gifford returns to the House. Congresswoman Gifford is a great friend to DOD Energy and we wish her a speed recovery. The goals of the act are to reduce DOD reliance on oil on the battlefield; tasks DOD to plan better for energy use; decrease electricity use at bases; and develop onsite renewables. The devil is in the details and the appropriations.

After the micro remarks by the members of Congress, the panel kicked off with each member making brief statements followed by a very informative Q&A. Matt Hourihan of ITIF led off with comments on his paper , co-authored with Matthew Stepp. The document remakes the case for DOD energy security with plenty of example of how DOD has “led the way” in technology development. The two condition necessary for this as stipulated in the paper are that Congress must provide “responsible support” for DOD efforts and that DOD must continue its energy security development in a “collaborative and information sharing manner”. Not completely sure what this mean. Will develop the situation!

These remarks were followed by Dr. Dorothy Robyn, DUSD, Installations and Environment and Ms. Sharon Burke, ASD, Operational Energy Plans and Programs. The gist of their remarks was about DOD’s role in innovation in the energy space. Both made it clear that DOD was in the game, but that any effort would have to show direct energy security returns and would have to be economically sustainable. Ms. Burke commented on the fact that she had an Energy Innovation Fund, but not much about where it will go. She promised that more detail would be available when her operational energy strategy was finished staffing and published. We look forward to that.

Dr. Robyn talked about the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDEP) and Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP) efforts to develop and promote an Installation Test Bed. Dr. Jeff Marqusee, the director of ESTCP was called to the mike several times to discuss the program. The energy topics for which proposals will be solicited are:

  1. Smart Micro-grids and Energy Storage to Increase Energy Security on DoD Installations
  2. Renewable Energy Generation on DoD Installations
  3. Advanced Component Technologies to Improve Building Energy Efficiency
  4. Advanced Building Energy Management and Control
  5. Tools and Processes for Design, Assessment and Decision-making Associated with Energy Use and Management

Selection of winners in this year’s process will be announced in October 2011. For more detail, check here.

I commend the panel and ITIF for leaving a large chunk of time for questions. I further commend all for not dodging the tough ones and for having SMEs on hand where required. I didn't like all the answers, but I liked that we got to ask the questions.

As we await the release of the Operational Energy Strategic Plan we have to keep the organization of DOD in mind. The office of the Secretary of Defense has responsibility for developing policy, how things ought to be done. The Services have Title 10, U.S. Code responsibilities. It is their purview to organize, man, equip, and train the forces necessary for the combatant commanders and they get the final vote on what gets fielded. For the Strategic Plan to have a lasting impact it must assign responsibilities for tasks, provide the authorities (resources) required and a mechanism for accountability. These will have to be reflected in the Services' execution plans. And Ms. Burke gets to grade those plans in her annual report to Congress, so that should close the circle. It will be interesting to watch the wrangling. Only the Marines have an organization chartered to do operational energy at this time. That would appear to be a big leg up in the resource restricted environment in which all the Services now must operate. Dan Nolan