USACE IDIQ plan supported by the Energy Initiative Task Force. The RFP is expected in early 2012 with an award in 2013. In the interim the TF still will have to support other energy efforts, so 2012 will be the year of the wildcat energy project. Although the EITF has not embraced the 5th fuel in its mandate, conservation continues to be the cheapest, safest, cleanest and most secure way to energy security. Entrepreneurs and installations that understand UESCs and ESPCs will have a chance to steal a march ahead of the big IDIQ which will corral all future Army energy production efforts. My sincere hope is that it will accelerate the process, but I have seen bureaucracies in action, or inaction.
The Air Force and the Navy will press ahead with alternative fuels with the USAF going after Jet – A as substitute for JP8 in CONUS. Has DLA-E lost the single fuel on the battlefield fight? When I checked with my liquid fuels experts, I got this response:
“There was a study done by an AF grad student that shows that Jet A will cost more. Why? JP-8 is more expense than commercial jet because it's made in small batches. With only some aircraft converting to Jet A the batches of JP-8 get smaller so the price of JP-8 goes up. Not all aircraft can fly on Jet A. None of the studies justifying Jet A looked at the secondary effects. The AFIT study was squashed by the AFPET/CC. The AFIT Professor/student advisor and the AFPET/CC almost came to blows over this.”Second and third order effects in the energy world rarely get the visibility they should.
The USN will continue to look for new and sustainable substitutes for the various JPs they use. Installation efforts by both will continue to be decentralized and no mandates will be issued to the base level. I will be watching NAVFAC Southwest where a number of innovative base energy efforts have been undertaken.
Operational Energy continues to chug along with most people talking while the USMC attacks. Not only did they get GREENS into the acquisition pipeline, they are using Smart Power to influence their local environment. Check out this USMC effort in the Helmand Province. The USD, OEPP was supposed to galvanize the operational energy effort, but it appears they are still building consensus with the Services. The office published its strategy in June 11 with the promise of an implementation plan 90 days later. In November I asked when the implementation plan would be published. I was passed off to the OSD PAO who informed me that:
"The Implementation Plan was released internally to the Defense Department in mid-September and we have already begun action on the initiatives outlined in the Plan. However, as with many other high-level documents of this nature, additional time was needed for full internal coordination with all relevant stakeholders in the Department before the document could be released publicly. Congressional and public release will occur upon completion of internal coordination."We are still waiting. They have staffed their office in Afghanistan with some well-seasoned energy hands so I look for some progress out forward.
The Army handed off operational energy to the Rapid Equipping Force (again), but has since placed staff responsibility firmly with the Army G4. The folks in the G4 Logistics Innovation Agency seem to be leading the charge there.
Generally, we will see the importance of operational energy diminish over the coming year as the Services focus on redeployment and a shrinking budget. As the Department draws down from 10 years of continuous combat and watches budgets shrink and sequester, their plans to use OPM (other people’s money) to reduce demand and increase renewables will pay dividends. It will be one place where they can point to doing something positive for the troops while saving money and, in some cases, turning a profit. The various organizations focused solely on energy will face pressures to reduce their size even as they are moving from the planning phase into execution. The ones that can point to a positive balance sheet will retain their jobs. This will be a lucrative market, but an unforgiving one. The Authorities are clear, the Responsibilities less so and Accountability is none existent. It will be left up to individuals to do the right thing for no other reason than it is the right thing. People change for one of two reasons: overwhelming threat or overwhelming opportunity. Otherwise they just do the status quo. Without reward or penalty, energy security is based upon hope today. I hope I am wrong. Dan Nolan