Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Money for Nothing and Watts for Free: More Fifth Fuel Tips

While we wait for the 100 plus proposals submitted for the Corps of Engineers’ Renewable Energy MATOC to be declared “compliant” or “non-compliant” (the equivalent of 007’s License to Kill), guest blogger Vince Marshall wants to remind us that the cheapest, safest, most secure electron is the one you don’t use.  Here is his piece on how to make money on the “Fifth Fuel”.  Thanks, Vince!

Energy Efficiency 101: Five Tips to Save You a Bundle

Over the years I have had many conversations with fellow energy professionals regarding how best to do our jobs. Some folks (especially the newer ones) tend to believe that expensive projects with outside contractors must be initiated in order to reduce base energy costs. Nothing could be further from the truth. In short, there are a handful of activities that are guaranteed to reduce consumption without a lot of muss and fuss.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Navy Biofuels R&D Get Royal Boost: Branson in Virgin Territory

Thanks for the heads up from Suzanne Hunt and the Carbon War Room.  In the latest exchange of fire over DOD's participation in the R&D for biofuels, the Navy got some help from British nobility in the form of Sir Richard Branson.  Sir Richard's Carbon War Room, according to their website, attempts to harness the efforts of entrepreneurs to leverage market driven opportunities to reduce carbon emissions.  Among its’ “divisions” is the Aviation & Renewable Jet Fuel Operation.  Their mission is “to reduce the aviation industry's greenhouse gas emissions by accelerating the scale-up of a sustainable renewable jet fuel industry.

A video was provided by the CWR supporting the U.S. Navy’s biofuels charettes.  Development of biofuels is a critical element in increasing U.S. energy security, but some have argued that at a time of diminishing budgets, we cannot afford this kind of R&D. Take a look at the video and decide for yourself. BRANSON VIDEO.  Dan Nolan

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Village Stability Energy: Not What I Thought I Was Getting

Yesterday's post: Thanks to Paul Roege for the tip of the day.  Big day for Army Energy at the annual Association of the U.S. Army exposition at the DC convention center today. You will have to register if you have not done so previously, so plan for a little extra time.  Information on the rest of the schedule is HERE.   If you can make it down, the schedule for today is as follows:

Tuesday, 23 Oct 

1500-1530 Village Stability Energy to the Edge Forum at Army Booth, REF, 1500-1530, Exhibit Hall B, # 1775

The 1500 event is of interest for all those who understand that local economic development and education are the keys to success in peace keeping operations.   I personally saw their effectiveness in Kosovo and when Joe Sartiano was running the Power Surety Task Force for the REF in 2008, he attempted to launch "Village Power" but got no where with the leadership then in charge.  Finally, the times have caught up with the idea.  Lights at night for study and power for start up industries create economic opportunities that can counter the propaganda of terror. 


Unfortunately,the REF briefing was not about village power.  It was about setting up a FOB to provide village stability (security) in austere conditions, not providing power to villages.   The briefing, provided by a very earnest Major, was a rehash of FOB energy problems that were first identified in 2006 by Joe Amadee at FOB Lemonier in the Horn of Africa. Read this post from 2009 for perspective.  Too many generators that are not optimized providing energy to energy inefficient structures and systems.  The only difference now is that the REF is providing an "Operational Energy Specialist" to selected outposts.  Don't get excited; there are only 8 of them.

Why is the REF still doing this after six years?  Why hasn't the acquisition system stepped up to provide the Requirements necessary to spark the solutions? The same contractors are milking the same system instead of finding ways to make the acquisition system work.  I am often accused of being critical (overly?) of DOD efforts in operational energy. Perhaps I am, but I hate to see money spent on doing the same thing over and over again.  Go back and read the reports we created for the Army  in 2006, 2007 and 2008.  Read the reports written for the USMC in 2009 and the USAF in 2010.  It is the same stuff.  Either get it into the acquisition system and fix the problems or stop wasting my tax payers dollars.    Dan Nolan.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

DOD Science Fair: USAF and USMC Look for Industry Help

The quest for energy security in the operational realm continues. The Army announced that it has taken a major step in changing its energy culture and increasing energy efficiency by deploying the Advanced Medium Mobile Power Systems (AMMPS) with the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Afghanistan. The system, which has been in the acquisition process since the ‘90s, is expected to provide 21% more efficiency and 95% more reliability.  I assume this was calculated based upon optimum loading.  I never saw a generator optimally loaded, but you have to work from some sort of a baseline.  PM, Mobile Electric Power is deploying the system in a new manner whereby they will do an assessment of requirements and then install a right-sized generators to meet that amount of power.  They are also providing the training.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

New Report out on DOD Energy Innovation Looks at Past and Points to Future

The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), a K Street research firm, has just published a report describing DOD energy policies and actions to date, with an eye on what's likely coming up in the near-to-mid term future.

For some DOD Energy Blog readers who might lament some aspects of DOD energy moves to date, the report contrasts DOD vs. US national leadership on energy matters:
National U.S. policymakers have failed to implement a robust and cohesive clean energy innovation strategy. In comparison, DOD has embarked on a multi-year effort to develop and procure low-carbon energy technologies and fuels to increase national energy security and improve safe energy access for the Armed Forces.
In 2011, the DOD released Energy for the Warfighter: Operational Energy Strategy, a plan for addressing its energy-related challenges. Included in the plan are three strategic goals that reflect these challenges and guide its investment decisions: 1) More fight, less fuel; 2) More options, less risk; and 3) More opportunity, less cost
Definitely a reminder, not only of how far we have yet to travel, but how far we've come. You can read the whole report HERE. Andy

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Energy Security Update: Straight of Hormuz Less Crucial to US in 2012

Uber strategic analyst Tom Barnett points to a recent Financial Times piece on oil metrics and this most important piece of aquatic real estate. Quoting FT:
Earlier this year, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi opened new pipelines that will increase the ability of countries to bypass the strait. Fully operational, 6.5m barrels per day, or about 40 per cent of total flows, will now be able to take alternative routes. “The Middle East is much better prepared now than a year ago to cushion the impact of a disruption in the Strait of Hormuz,” says Edward Morse, head of commodities research at Citigroup and former US deputy assistant secretary of state for international energy policy.
Recommend you read the whole post, which includes a great map and infographic, HERE. Andy

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

DOD Drops Annual Energy Management Report for FY2011: Richter Scale Reacts

DOD celebrated the new fiscal year by publishing the FY 2011 Annual Energy Management Report.   Happy New FY2013!  The report took a year to write and is a steal at only $485K (to write; you can download it for free).  That comes to a little over a $1000 a page and comes with a “by installation” list of how much space they have and how many billions of BTUs were consumed.  It also contains a "go, no go" chart for every installation and key renewable sources.   This report is double the size of last year, produced at less cost and has enough information to choke a horse.  This will take a couple of posts to cover.

Bottom line is that DOD is not making the goals, but is trending well as reflected below.
Table 1-1: FY 2011 DoD Progress Toward Facility Energy and Water Goals
This massive tome has detailed information on energy conservation, smart grid, renewable energy, potable water use intensity and petroleum consumption for non-tactical vehicles.  I will address these in subsequent blogs.  The single most telling graphic is figure 3-4: DoD Energy Intensity EISA 2007 Goal Attainment shown below.

If you think of the dangling bars as the low hanging fruit, it is clear that they have all been plucked.  The cheap, easy, quick ROI efforts have been executed.  This means that the next round of energy conservation measures will require greater investment in techniques such as deep retrofit of buildings.  Either the Services will have to come up with the cash or make greater use of energy savings performance contracts and utility energy services contracts.  

Interestingly, the Service with the greatest reduction in energy intensity, the Air Force, did not award an ESPC or UESC project in FY2011.  This was a function of a policy that imposed an unreasonable bureaucratic burden for bases and has since been changed.  The tendency to grab the low hanging fruit is a function of the “requirement” for very short ROI timelines.  While all eyes are trained on the Army MATOC drama, serious folks will focus on the “fifth fuel” and find a balance between onerous policies, unrealistic ROI expectations and true energy security.  More to follow.  Dan Nolan