Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Energy KPP now Crawls, no Running Yet, but Considers Walking

The concept of a key performance parameter (KPP) or metric for Energy goes back to the two DSB Reports on Energy in 2001 and 2008 and by 2009 it made it to the NDAA.

This blogger has been writing about and advocating for measuring energy to better manage energy almost since its inception.  I just searched for "KPP" and found maybe a couple of dozen posts, the first in Oct 2008.

Seemed like it was going to take forever, but I'm happy to announce to readers who haven't gotten the news via other sources that the Energy KPP is most definitely alive and in motion. Consider this guidance excerpt OSD is passing to DOD Services:
Service performs macro analysis early in requirements process considering:
  • CONOPS and OMS/MP 
  • Refueling assets (force structure) and capacity 
  • Frequency of refueling and % assets needed at one time 
  • Convoy distances (doctrine) and estimated travel times 
  • RED action on BLUE logistics 
  • Attrition of refueling assets 
  • Security for refueling assets 
Great stuff, right? Imagine the work involved in exploring the threat vectors to blue logistics and the motivation that would give you to get this thinking baked in early.

Here's a link to a one page overview which includes a link to this somewhat jumbled presentation.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Dr. Geiss Provides Best Definition of Energy Security

Air Force DAS Energy's Kevin Geiss, in a recent panel discussion, made the case for improved and continued partnerships on energy with all of the DOD services.

Along the way, he took a turn at defining the most eternally-difficult-to-define term in our business:

Energy security is having the power when and where you need and in sufficient amounts to do the job and the ability to protect that and recover from any disruption. It's not just having the power but recognizing that there are risks.

If I may use the word zeitgeist here, Geiss is in tune with our current one. In cyber security circles in 2013, when we weren't talking about Snowden and NSA, we were talking about resilience, and that's the special sauce he adds that makes it, in my mind, the strongest, most succinct definition yet.

Knowing that despite best plans and intentions, things are still going to go wrong and orgs need to be ready to respond and recover. And learn.

Article HERE.  And thanks for the hundredth time to OSD's Ollie Fritz (must buy him another beer at Miracle of Science someday).

Monday, November 25, 2013

Sandia and Hayden on Cybersecurity Strategies for Micgrogrids

This DOD-relevant post comes to you courtesy of the good folks at the Smart Grid Security Blog.

First off, thanks to friend and colleague Ernie Hayden for writing a microgrid security post following his mini-immersion in the topic last week. You can read his write-up HERE.

In particular, want you to see something he linked to: SNL's Microgrid Cybersecurity Reference Architecture. That's Sandia National Labs, btw, not Saturday Night Live; talented though he is, Jimmy Fallon is not a contributor to this piece.

Note: the microgrid concept described by Sandia is principally for energy security in DOD use cases, for emergency fall-back scenarios. Not necessarily for improving day-to-day operations or achieving efficiencies or cost savings, though you get some of those as part of this.

An excerpt from the Executive Summary makes that concept clear:
The design of a microgrid control system needs to be more robust than that of a traditional industrial control system (ICS) for the following reasons: 
-- The microgrid is used in emergency situations and may be critical to continuity of operations of an installation
-- The microgrid must function during active attack by a capable adversary.
As such, the traditional design and implementation for an ICS may not be sufficient for implementing a robust and secure microgrid.
Of course, there are an increasing number of non-military microgrid use cases and a burgeoning technology and integration market that supports them. But my guess is all those civilian applications should go to school on how Sandia and the DOD are hardening theirs, and select from among those approaches security that's right for their own risk tolerance objectives.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Department of Veterans' Affairs a Solar Leader by Example

After being introduced by a mutual friend in the energy business, I had the chance to speak with a representative of the VA last week and I came away with such a great impression of this most important of government organizations.

I needn't tell you about the core mission of the VA and the central role it plays in much of what we hold near and dear as Americans: taking care of our bravest, most self-sacrificing citizens who've put themselves at great risk keeping the rest of us safe in an increasingly dangerous world.

But what I didn't know, and couldn't imagine on my own, was the massive scope of VA operations and built infrastructure.  We're talking many thousands of buildings including more hospitals and other health facilities than any other organization in the country.  Or the world.  By a mile.

The VA is doing remarkable things with solar energy, and increasingly, designing contracts that save the department money over time.  You can read more about these efforts here HERE.

I challenge you to spend a few minutes with this interactive map and see if you can find a state or US territory that's not been touched by at least one VA clean-tech project.  I don't think you'll find one.

Way to go, VA.  Keep it up !!!

Photo: Reno VA Medical Center Outpatient Clinic

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Energy Future Starting to Show Up

This is a very short post that may portend something big.  Energy storage has been the Holy Grail for the renewables sector some time now, and likely will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Nevertheless ...

Apparently, a Maryland-based company has teamed to produce the "first renewable energy storage system in the U.S. capable of not only storing generation when the sun's not shining, but also delivering power to the local electric grid."

Brief article is HERE.  And re: operational energy and FOBs ... note how transportable this thing looks.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween DOD: Great Microgrid Primer from the SPIDERS team

DOD's Smart Power Infrastructure Demonstration for Energy Reliability and Security (SPIDERS microgrid program) prime integrator Burns & McDonnell has produced an outstanding white paper for anyone wanting to better understand the why's and how's of microgrids.

Overall it's a great paper, but two parts jumped out at me immediately for their value to decision makers.  Here you go, the first is from a section on mission drivers:
By allowing multiple generation assets to provide power for a common load, microgrids greatly increase both the reliability of power and its efficiency of generation. Typically, the greatest beneficiaries of microgrids are customers with large, mission critical facilities or large power consumers in areas prone to frequent and/or prolonged outages (e.g. hurricane zones). Although facilities like these have utilized on site generation in the past, they are starting to migrate towards microgrids due to the many examples of single generators failing during prolonged outages thereby leaving the entire mission in jeopardy.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Time for a US Oil Change?

Underway replenishment

On the heals of last week's post on China surpassing the US to become the biggest importer, two recent articles ponder oil's place in our world, particularly in light of how it was used as a weapon against the US during the Arab-Israeli War.

The first, Does OPEC Still have the US over a Barrel? brings the events of those days back vividly.  If you're old enough, this will conjure up a scary memory. If you're young enough, this may sound like a Tom Clancy (RIP) novel, but it was far too real for those managing the crisis in 1973:
“I’m sitting at my desk at the Pentagon,” recalls James Schlesinger, then secretary of defense, “and a cable comes in, and it reads: ‘In accordance with the orders of His Majesty, we are obliged to cut off all oil supplies to your 6th Fleet and to your forces in western Europe. Signed [Saudi oil minister] Zaki Yamani.’ ”

Friday, October 11, 2013

Major Oil Market Shift of Colossal Importance to DOD and DOD Energy Planners

From this morning's WSJ.  You don't need my help to quickly understand how the shift described below will impact US and DOD policymakers in the years ahead.

The article is titled: Middle East Oil Fuels Fresh China-U.S. Tensions and here's an excerpt that boils is down to the essence:
The turnabout has added to tensions because it leaves the U.S. military securing China's growing oil shipments in the region at a time Beijing resists U.S. pressure on it to back American foreign policy in the Middle East.
For years, China and other oil-consuming nations have benefited as Washington spent billions of dollars a year to police choke points like the Strait of Hormuz and other volatile parts of the Middle East to ensure oil flowed around the globe. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

DOD Energy Follies Part 2: Middies, Zoomies, and Toilets in the Desert

Inside the Middie Dome
OK, I don't want to spend much more time on follies. Would much rather accentuate the positive. But based on feedback to the previous follies post, looks like one more is in order.

The most glaring contribution this week, pun intended, came from the Navy again, which for some reason decided to keep its stadium lights all the way on for Saturday's game vs USAFA. In the face of sequestration and the teeth of the partial government shutdown, the Air Force barely had the funds to get its folks to Annapolis.  The Navy, it seems, had money (and watts) to burn.

Friday, October 4, 2013

And Now for Something Completely Different: Navy Energy Follies

The DOD Energy Blog is loaded with posts documenting many cases of USN's forward-thinking energy savings strategies and actions. Now it's time to be fair and balanced. The stories you are about to hear are true (I'm pretty sure).  Some of the names have been changed to protect the innocent. The sources of these anecdotes are in the witness protection program.

The Commander Navy Installations Command (CNIC) has implemented an energy savings policy that rewards program managers to implement game-changing energy conservation measures like:
  • No charging of phones or other PDA’s is allowed in work spaces. (Where outdoor outlets are available, you can charge devices during smoke breaks)
  • Only one coffee pot per building (depending on building size, this could cause catastrophic crew and other employee readiness failures)
  • No air conditioning until it reaches 75F + in the barbershop (resulting in sweaty heads that reduce buzzer and clipper effectiveness)
With these changes in full effect, US and DOD energy autonomy is clearly within reach. Ahem.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

USN: "Save Energy Unless You Can't"

Hat tip to CAPT Jim Goudreau, Dir Navy Energy Coordination Office, for the heads-up on this brief article and apologies for the latency in getting it posted.

The Navy continues to be active in tuning its policies to more fully account for the operational constraints of fuel dependency and the wins that can be derived from more energy efficient systems and energy conserving behaviors.

From the official "Navy Live" blog:
The key ... is that energy-saving practices must evolve from “Save energy when you can” to “Save energy unless you can’t.” Institutionalizing and codifying energy savings throughout the fleet will enable us to continue meeting our national defense mission and fulfilling combatant commander requirements, while conserving vital energy resources and conserving scarce defense dollars that the Navy can apply to other priorities, such as maintenance and modernization.
Short, sweet, and comprehensively applicable to all manner of lifecycle and strategy considerations. You can read the whole post HERE.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Geiss on Air Force Energy Progress - Sep 2013 Update

Hat tip to OSD's Ollie Fritz again (and again).

Straight up, here are highlights from an interview with Dr Kevin Geiss, DASAF for Energy, from a recent article: "A more fuel-efficient Air Force"

Eighty-four percent of the Air Force’s annual $9 billion energy budget pays for jet fuel, and of that 60 percent is for 900 mobility flights per day moving cargo and people.

Even though the service has no control over fuel costs or the missions it is called to serve, it aims to “get better [energy efficiency] at every flight,” says Kevin Geiss, deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for energy.

Dr. Geiss outlined some of the service’s energy-saving efforts in a recent interview:

Monday, September 16, 2013

A New TET Offensive: Navy Transportation Efficiency Breakthrough

Thanks to OSD's Ollie Fritz for flagging this. With help from the forward looking Office of Naval Research (ONR), this new rather low-tech energy saving breakthrough is called the Transportation Exploitation Tool or TET for short.

Here's an example of how it works:
Imagine a scenario where a U.S. Navy ship in a foreign port urgently needs a particular engine part to complete its mission. TET allows the user to simply enter what cargo needs to be shipped and where it’s going, and then provides the planner with all available space on transports across military and commercial sectors, with recommendations for the most efficient routes. 
Previously, planners had to search multiple databases to access all civilian and military space availability, which could require hours or even days. In the worst cases, separate flights had to be chartered.
You can read the full piece HERE.

Photo credit: Marines.mil

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Conference Alert: Defense Energy Summit

Haven't been this enthused about an energy conference since GovEnergy (RIP).  The line-up of speakers would be hard to beat. Though there's a caveat.

The vast majority of senior DOD and government speakers haven't yet confirmed, most likely due to frozen travel budgets (tagged with * below). Maybe some of them, like Senator Cornyn, even though Texas is a quite large, can simply drive. But the challenge is more significant for Washingtonians.

Listed Speakers
  • Sharon Burke, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy Plans and Programs US Department of Defense
  • Jonathan Powers, Federal Environmental Executive, The White House
  • Senator John Cornyn, State of Texas*
  • Chuck Hagel, Secretary of Defense*
  • Richard Kidd IV, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Energy & Sustainability, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army Installations, Energy & Environment, US Army*
  • General Martin Dempsey, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff*
  • Thomas Hicks, Deputy Undersecretary of the Navy/Deputy Chief Management Officer, US Navy*
  • Kevin Geiss, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Energy, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment and Logistics, US Air Force*
  • John Lushetsky, Executive Director, Army Energy Initiatives Task Force, US Army*
  • Honorable Katherine Hammack, Assistant Secretary of the Army (Installations, Energy & Environment), U.S. Army
  • Chris Smith, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary and Acting Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy US Department of Energy
Nevertheless, the program looks very strong with or without the keynotes. I'll be there for sure.*


When: November 11-13, 2013
Where: Austin, TX
For more info and to register: www.defenseenergy.com

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Army Selects Solar Contestants

Congratulations to the awardees of the Army's solar MATOC including:
  • NRG Energy
  • Dominion Energy
  • Enel Green Power
  • Solar Power Ventures
  • SunPower Corp
  • Acciona Energy North America Corp
These co's are now approved to compete for some very significant projects.  Other categories in the $7 billion cleantech program include wind and biomass.  

Good luck to all; now go out and get er done!

Monday, August 26, 2013

We Needed it but Didn't Have it. Now it's 2013: Is Better Field Generation for DOD Here Yet?

Since this blog's inception, we've been calling for accelerating the work to improve the efficiency of field generators.  In the context of rising assaults (and many successful attacks) on fuel convoys in Afghanistan, here's a DEB post from 2009, referencing a similarly aligned point of view at NDIA, pleading for speed.

Now Federal News Radio covers a recent announcement that the Office of Naval Research (ONR) is getting closer to fielding a practical 10 kilowatt fuel cell generator.  Cumbersomely designated: "Solid-Oxide Fuel Cell Tactical Electrical Power Unit" the benefits jump right out are you:

  • Require approximately half the fuel to generate the same output
  • Much quieter
  • Smaller - easier to transport

Drawbacks in include a longer start-up time, and almost certainly until production ramps up, higher acquisition costs.

But for sure, using the Fully Burdened Cost of Fuel (FBCF) metric will show these units are massively more cost effective over the full lifecycle.  And they'll save lives by requiring fewer and/or smaller convoys and by being harder to detect.

Unfortunately, despite the optimism from ONR, sounds to me like deployment may still be years off. I wonder if they can be better marketed to the private sector, hungry for better disaster preparedness and resiliency solutions in the wake of hurricanes Katrina, Sandy and others.  That kind of market demand would could be a real expediter.  ... and perhaps a different name :)

Here's the full article.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

2013 TIDES DOD/USG Energy Technology Demos Coming to You ... Now

Correction just in:

The TIDES Demo is NOT this week but in October. We have a large TIDES Demo at Fort McNair from 1-4 OCT and a smaller display inside the PENTAGON COURTYARD from 7-9 OCT.

Well, that is if you work at Fort McNair or the Pentagon. Or if you live nearby, and convince them to let you in. This blog first covered the STAR-TIDES program back in 2008, but it's a great success and just keeps humming along.  Let's revisit the acronym before we begin:

STAR = Sustainable Technologies, Accelerated Research.
TIDES = Transportable Infrastructures for Development and Emergency Support. 

Got it?  OK, thanks to National Defense University's Lou Elin Dwyer for the heads-up and most of the verbiage on this. And BTW, this is going on right now at Fort McNair and next week at the Pentagon!

I'll get out of the way and let Lou Elin do the talking:
This year's theme is "Innovate, Improve, and Imagine: Operational Solutions for Stressed Environments" This event is widely attended by the Department of Defense officials; government agencies (DOE, USAID, DHS, FEMA, State Department, as well as an array of private, for-profit and non-profit organizations.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

US Navy Set to Lauch Floating Macro Micro Grid

You can do a lot with 78 megawatts, including power 26,000 homes, for instance. Or you use it to run absolutely everything on one of the Navy's newest warships.

I'll let IEEE explain:
The Zumwalt’s propellers and drive shafts are turned by electric motors, rather than being directly attached to combustion engines. Such electric-drive systems, while a rarity for the U.S. Navy, have long been standard on big ships. What’s new and different about the one on the Zumwalt is that it’s flexible enough to propel the ship, fire railguns or directed-energy weapons (should these eventually be deployed), or [all] at the same time.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Major SPIDERS Update, Advancing Energy Security & Barbarians at the Gate

This mega post just in from Mr. Harold Sanborn, Program Manager at Construction Engineering Research Lab (CERL), US Army and technical manager for the SPIDERS Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD).  It's chock full of good news and you'll want to read it top-to-bottom to get the full picture. ab

Starting from the vantage point (30 years of civil service) that "no good idea goes unpunished" allows me the freedom to work complex problems knowing that the threat of doom comes with the territory. Being twisted and enjoying pain keeps me in the zone.

SPIDERS Phase I has finished the "history tour" as we codify and publish the lessons learned. First lesson, see sentence one... Acquisition of both Military Construction and Research and Development on the same contract at a firm fixed price (not a cost plus AFRL contract) isn't done every day. The Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD) guidance for a minimum of Technology Readiness Level 6 as a pre-condition, to accelerate the deployment of technologies, while needing to leave behind a functioning, sustainable and useful real property improvement in energy security, stretches one's mind. Arguably we accomplished what we set out to do.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Alternative Energy and the DOD Battlefield of the Future

Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy Plans and Programs, Sharon Burke shared a few mid 2013 insights in an interview published last week.  Here's an excerpt that signals more of the same ... and a subtle shift:

Status Quo
Though alternative energy use is increasing, the military will continue to depend heavily on petroleum.  "We do expect that we will continue to be a very petroleum-dependent force. Petroleum has an energy density and a universal availability that's very, very important for a military force," Burke said. "We have equipment in our arsenals that's designed to use liquid fuels that are going to be around for many decades." 

New Deal
But because energy diversity guidelines were added into the requirements and acquisition processes, Burke said she anticipates an increase in the implementation of tactical solar panels, fuel cells, flywheels, more efficient batteries and other energy-saving measures and practices in the future.
You can follow Ms. Burke on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/sharon.e.burke


URL for Fed News Radio article:


Photo credit: Treehugger.com

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Conference Alert: Defense Energy Summit

You've got plenty of time for this one, but want to get it on your calendar early.  Here's the Joe Friday "just the facts, ma'am":
  • Who: Headliner will be Sharon Burke,  Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy Plans and Programs
  • What: a 3-day conference and expo covering operational and installation energy issues
  • When: 11-13 November, 2013
  • Where: Austin, TX (venue is TBD)
  • Why: GovEnergy is gone. The sequester has landed. This is a good chance for like-minded leaders and doers to get together and chart a course together for 2014 and beyond.
Also until August 8th you can submit proposals for the annual Defense Energy Challenge (DETC), which matches new energy solutions for DOD with testing and procurement opportunities.


Conference URL

Photo credit: Knowsphotos on Flickr (and yes, that's a Stevie Ray Vaughan statue in the foreground. RIP.)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

DOD Energy must learn from DSB report on cybersecurity strengths (and weaknesses)

DOD Energy Blog readers - I try not to do this too often, but when the content of the Smart Grid Security Blog is particularly relevant, we sometimes to a twofer.  That is publishing the same post on both blogs, albeit with slightly different titles. As you know from recent posts on the great secure smart and microgrid work going on at Naval District Washington (NDW), through the SPIDERS program, and elsewhere, much of a good portion of DOD energy security is rooted in cybersecurity. As such, I think this post and the report it references are particularly relevant to our cause.  Here you go:

Last year the US DoD released a report by one of its Defense Science Board teams and I've seen it referenced a number of times in recent weeks, especially in articles announcing our loss of the most sensitive systems design details on dozens of current and next generation weapons systems.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

DOD Energy Security Milestone: Announcing Fort Bliss's New Microgrid

Microgrid research is being conducted at a bunch of DOD installations: Naval District Washington (NDW), the Marines' 29 Palms base in California, Joint Base Pearl-Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii and Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, to name a few.

But Fort Bliss decided it was ready for one of its own, and with a little Federal funding help, decided to get on with it and build one of its own. It's a win on several fronts, including energy security in the event of local or regional black out, so in a time of distress when you most need them, the military (or at least this part of it) will be up, running, and ready to respond.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Air Force Accelerates Energy Culture Change for Airmen

USAF's just-released energy culture plan is drawing some praise from folks in the right places. Here's what Jerry Dion of DOE's Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy division has to say:
I am particularly impressed with their segmentation of the target audiences by AF job clusters and tailoring of messages/actions. That they have avoided the usual defaults of asking individuals to turn off lights and computers when not in use, and have really looked at the full scope of the AF enterprise in terms of people and what they do individually and as work groups is evidence of a very serious approach. The plan includes reaching out to the other services to share what they have done - more of that is needed.
You can see the Air Force's new Energy Culture plan HERE

I also note the prominence of metrics in this doc. Granted, much of it is fuzzy, but the impulse to measure is clearly there, and metrics can always be refined over time. On the DOD Energy Blog we promoted metrics in Operational Energy way back in 2009 in this NDU paper.

BTW, Dion is also leading the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP)'s Institutional Change activities as well, and says they've reached a point where they want more visibility after developing the foundation for engaging with agencies. You can reach him thusly: jerry.dion@ee.doe.gov.

Photo credit: www.airlinebuzz.com

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Energy Security Conference Alert: IAGS' Target Energy 2013

What is IAGS you say? I'll answer briskly: the Institute for the Analysis of of Global Security. Teaming with NATO's Energy Security Center of Excellence, IAGS is hosting a conference called Target Energy that includes but goes well beyond cybersecurity and the grid.

For those DOD Energy Blog readers whose professional lives are circumscribed by US military energy matters only, this is a chance to stretch a bit. Here's how the organizers describe the focus:
The cost of securing energy supplies is increasing due to threats from terrorists, hackers, activists and hostile nations. What is the impact of attacks against energy, and how can companies, organizations, and governments work with NATO to increase security?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Navy Connects to Achieve Physical, Cyber and Energy Security at Naval District Washington

I posted on this NDW effort earlier this year, but now it appears they have accomplished a rather remarkable trifecta. By leveraging an already accredited (secure) command and control network, it appears the Navy NDW folks have achieved improved physical security capabilities, enhanced energy security through Smart, microgrid, and building management functions, and cybersecurity that has passed the scrutiny of the Common Criteria process for vetting the security robustness of important systems.

This is the first Navy site to complete the certification and accreditation process using a full enterprise approach. Here's how Richard Robishaw, regional operations director, puts it:

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Energy Future on which so much Depends for DOD ... and Everyone Else

Click for larger version

This chart, created by energy futurist Dr. Eric Martinot depicts predictions of the global rate of renewables deployment with the different slopes representing faster and slower rates of adoption.

I had the good fortune of catching Eric's presentation last week at MIT and was thinking how DOD energy planners would benefit from exposure to his work.

So much depends on how this plays out, you know?  National security, global economics, US economics, climate change / severe weather factors, DOD missions and DOD energy assurance. Not a list to be sneezed at.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Walmart Signals the Way Forward for Facilities Energy: Lessons for DOD Installation Energy?

Walmart was mentioned prominently in the 2008 Defense Science Board (DSB) report on Energy. Considered an energy management exemplar at the time, many of the giant company's best practices have been promoted as DOD objectives since that time.

Here's how the DSB worded it 5 years ago:
The Task Force was struck by the contrast between the energy demand data collected by DOD and that collected by another very large energy consuming entity – Wal-Mart. If a single freezer cabinet door remains open too long at an individual store, an alarm is triggered at Wal-Mart’s headquarters in Bentonville, AR. Wal-Mart uses detailed demand and consumption data to inform corporate wide decisions that affect energy demand including capital investments, maintenance policies and operational procedures.
We've clearly made progress since then, but Walmart is now upping the ante with its recent announcement of very  aggressive new energy efficiency and self-sufficiency goals. As reported by Energy modernization expert Jesse Berst from a Walmart press release:

CEO Mike Duke [said] the company intends to:
  • Produce or procure 7 billion KWh of renewable energy every year (up 600% from 2010 levels) 
  • Reduce the energy intensity of its buildings by 20% compared to 2010 levels
  • Install solar on at least 1,000 rooftops by 2020 (it has 200 in place or in development now)
  • Increase LED usage indoors and outdoors
  • Be supplied 100% by renewable energy by 2020
Holy smokes.  And there's no reason to believe Walmart won't hit these targets.

Now questions for you: should the DOD try to keep pace?  Can it?  You can see the full article HERE.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

DoD: Know Your (Likely) Energy Secretary

I first met Ernie Moniz several years ago in his position as head of the new MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) pronounced MIGHTY. Well, looks like MITEI's going to need a new leader soon, because if all goes well for Moniz, and so far it has, he's going to be approved as the next US Secretary of Energy.

As this GTM article reveals, Moniz is in the "pursue everything" camp when it comes to energy security.  This tends to aggravate almost everyone, but speaking on behalf of DEB co-blogger Dan Nolan, and thinking from a DoD context, we like it.

On a personal note, Ernie and I live in the same town just outside downtown Boston, and our paths have crossed during dog-walking duties. Though it's separate from MITEI, as a member of the most excellent MIT Energy Club, I've benefitted from the passion for energy and culture change Moniz has instilled across the campus. Believe he will be a largely positive force for energy thinking going forward, including coordination with and support of DoD initiatives.

Photo credit: MIT Alumni on Flickr.com

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Aim High 2013: USAF Updates its Energy Plans

B-2 Spirit - Click to greatly enlarge

I remember talks several years ago with Mike Aimone, then an SES and big cheese of Air Force installations and logistics on a workable definition of energy security. After a stint at  Battelle, he's back in DOD as Director, Business Enterprise Integration ODUSD (AT&L)/I&E (BEI) (thanks to Scott Sklar for the correction). Nevertheless, the Air Force's search to define and deliver energy security goes on.

USAF has just released its 2013 Energy Plan, its first revision to the 2010 edition, and it addresses all the right topics, albeit at very high, and highly polished, level. Included is this sidebar on Installation Energy Security:

Friday, March 22, 2013

Some Good News on the DOD Energy Front: Less Wailing and Gnashing of Teeth

In the midst of the wailing and gnashing of teeth over the future of DOD energy, one of the innovative ideas of the Navy seemed to run aground on the shoals of Senate trepidation.  Senator Toomey (R-Pa) submitted amendments to the continuing resolution that would cut funding to the Navy biofuel program.  Apparently, Toomey was not happy about Tobyhanna’s loss of 400+ civilian contractors in the coming weeks due to sequestration.

According to ASD,OEPP Sharon Burke’s Facebook page there is good news!  She is thanking the Senate for keeping DOD energy options open, vis-à-vis biofuels.  And yes, I get most of my news from Facebook and Jon Stewart. I know this will draw the ire of those old salty dogs who don’t want to see their Navy used to “experiment”, so we can await their comments.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

(Not Just) Another Conference Alert: Military Microgrids

Dan attended this conference last year and unsurprisingly came away with a lot to say, HERE. Well, time flies when you're working DOD Energy and having fun so it's one more into the breach my friends.

There's a 5-for-the-price-of-1 bullet sale going on now at Blogger, so the rest of this post will take advantage of that promotion. Good luck:

  • When: April 30- May 1, 2013 
  • Where: Holiday Inn Rosslyn at Key Bridge, Arlington, VA 22209
  • For more info and to register click: HERE
  • Point of contact: Marcus W. Min, (310) 320-8128 
Confirmed Speakers: 
  • Mr. Tom Hicks, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Energy, Installations and Environment, US Navy 
  • Mr. Steven Chalk, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Renewable Energy, EERE/DOE 
  • Dr. Jeff Marqusee, Director, DoD Environmental Security Technology Certification Program 
  • CAPT Kerry Gilpin, Director, 1 Gigawatt Task Force, US Navy 
  • Dr. Tim McCoy, Director, Electric Ships, PEO-Ships 
  • COL Paul Roege, Chief, Operational Energy Office, US Army
  • Mr. Don Juhasz, Director, Energy Resource Management, Defense Logistics Agency
  • Mr. Steve Bossart, Senior Energy Analyst, National Energy Technology Lab, DOE 
  • Dr. Allen Hefner, Assistant to the National Coordinator for Grid Interoperability, NIST 
  • Mr. Stephen Schneider, Vice President and Chief Solutions Architect, SAIC 
  • Dr. Charles Chen, Technical Programs Manager, Advanced Concepts, Northrop Grumman 
  • Ms. Angela Watmore, Director, Boeing Energy Transmission and Distribution 
  • Mr. Dan Nordloh, Executive Vice President, ZBB Energy 
  • Mr. Bill Becker, Director, Microgrid Solutions, Spirae 
  • Dr. Bala Vinayagam, Director, Smart Grid Products, GE 
  • Mr. Deepak Devin, President, Varentec 
  • Mr. William Taylor, Solutions Development Leader, Energy and Environment, Honeywell 
  • Mr. Richard Hockney, Chief Engineer, Beacon Power 
  • Mr. Brian Lenane, Senior Principal, Strategic Initiatives, SRA 
  • Mr. Liam Dohn, Project Manager, Smart Grid Division, Siemens

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Conference Alert: American Energy Security Summit

Hat tip to IBM colleague Tim F for sending this our way.  As he says, could this be the successor to the once mighty GovEnergy (RIP)? Not sure, but it may be worth keeping an eye on.

Some of the topics it will cover include:
  • Federal energy priorities, programs, and contracts, featuring the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and other federal agencies
  • Energy efficiency priorities, including achieving net zero installations and advanced lighting solutions
  • Clean energy priorities, including biofuels for jets and electric and natural gas-powered ground transportation
No speakers or DoD participants listed yet, but the dates are 5-6 Aug 2013 and the location is DC

Here's the LINK for more.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Sequester means DOD Energy now Racing under Yellow Flag

From multiple sources, the threat (and since March 1st, the reality) of sequester-driven DOD budget cuts has put many energy related initiatives on hold. In some cases, it's full stop for the foreseeable project. In others, there's an expectation that things will keep going but will be at reduced speed.

Not complaining, mind you. While energy security is top of mind for this blog, military planners clearly have bigger and more pressing concerns at this moment. Energy will have to take a back seat until sequester and other budget-related issues are sorted out.

There are exceptions of course, with some energy projects still motoring on. But since the inception of the DOD Energy Blog in the summer of 2008, hot on the heals of the 2008 Defense Science Board report on Energy, we've never seen a lull like this one.

Let's hope energy gets the green flag again soon. And BTW, if your experience of the sequester's impact on DOD Energy is markedly different than the way I've characterized it here, plus make comment or drop an email and we'll revise accordingly. Thanks. Andy

Photo credit: wikimedia.org

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Future of Naval Installation Energy is Upon Us

As projected several years ago in this great 5-minute video, paving the way for demand management, energy efficiency, microgrids, support for renewables and all manner of support-the-mission, energy security goals (with cybersecurity baked in, to boot).

From all accounts, the folks involved with this initiative are right on schedule and are meeting their objectives. Recommend you keep an eye on this.  Andy

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Climate Warriors Take a Hill: Support for Climate Summits

With all the talk of dwindling budgets, cut backs in weapons systems, and the drawdown in Afghanistan, there is one place were the fight continues and the warriors are unrelenting.   For those who are still deep in denial about climate change, who rationalizes Sandy and Nemo as just part of the grand scheme of weather events, turn the page and look elsewhere.  If you are one who recognizes the impact of the industrial revolution and man’s contribution to the carbon content of our atmosphere then you are in good company.  An op-ed in the Huffington Post by Lieutenant General (R) Norm Seip and Brigadier General (R) Steve Anderson lays out, not the case for climate change, but a step toward a solution. 

Their goal is to encourage a series of climate summits in support of the President’s stated inaugural goals.   They see these events as a means to “give our Armed Forces colleagues, faith and labor group leaders, farmers' unions, insurance and other industry executives an opportunity to join our Commander-in-Chief in implementing proven solutions to this crisis”. The initial summit was speculated about in the Guardian in early January.   In the vision of the two generals, the first event would be supported by Nation-wide community satellite meetings.  It would be intended to identify solutions to ending the political paralysis fomented by business interests that do not want short term profits garnered from profligate carbon emissions to be sacrificed just so we will not have to suffer increased economic and political instability worldwide.  

This is a time for conversation, not conflict.  We need a reasonable discussion without histrionics  I know this will be difficult in the current environment, but National Security requires mature consideration.  This should extend to the current nomination imbroglio. 

    In addition to those focused on the National Security implications of Climate Change, six scientific societies delivered a letter to the White House supporting a climate summit.  If the President is serious about getting serious about climate change, there are more than a few people who have his back.   Dan Nolan

Monday, February 11, 2013

SPIDERS Passes the Test: Operational Demonstration Summary

SPIDERS IMT members discuss start up of 

 The Smart Power Infrastructure Demonstration for Energy Reliability and Security (SPIDERS) Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD) completed its Phase 1 operational demonstration at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam (JBPHH) in late January 2013.  The micro-grid system from the main SPIDERS Human Machine Interface (HMI) is overseen and operated by the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Hawaii Utilities and Waste Water Treatment Plant Station staff.  This portion of the system is located at NAVFAC Control Station C (Pearl Harbor Bldg 41).  A team from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, part of the SPIDERS assessment team, scrutinized controller operations, system status, and continuity of operations throughout the demonstration. Their report will focus on system effectiveness, training and contribute to the Transition Manager’s JCTD deliverables. 

Initial observations indicated the majority of the activities outlined in the operational test plan were executed successfully. The demo’s sequence of activities detailed in the test plan included data collection and measurements.  The Phase 1 effort should serve as a blueprint for all other follow-on microgrid efforts.   Of course not everything was flawless. Outside the parameters of the demo, a communication system anomaly was recorded in the early hours of 23 Jan.  As designed, the SPIDERS intelligent control system reacted  to its fail-safe mode of operation (traditional emergency back-up generation each supplying it’s intended load).  The PNNL independent assessment will provide further detail regarding the results of the demo. 

According to sources, on Friday 25 January, at the conclusion of the VIP observation and tour, the technical management team, the industry team and NAVFAC Utility Services met to discuss contract status, systems support, and potential improvements during the duration of the measurement and verification aspect of this JCTD contract. The concluding remarks from NAVFAC personnel was their appreciation that “the system worked as advertised” and that SPIDERS offered JBPHH technical improvements in their ability to conduct operations.

Not everything was lollipops and cherries.  The Air Force in-kind contribution of a flow battery flopped.  It would seem that some sort of energy storage medium will be required to make intermittent energy production viable for uninterruptible power.  It was reported that the schedule and communications never synchronized with the SPIDERS efforts.  Cost effective, reliable energy storage remains the Holy Grail of the micro-grid challenge.  Air Force, next time, just write a check!

Well done to everyone involved.  The SPIDERS JCTD has been one of the most successful efforts in the DOD energy arena to date.   Perhaps when they are done with this, the whole team could be transferred to work on HiPower and we could finally get a bang for our buck (or 30 million bucks) there!  Take a look at the September 2008 post if you can’t remember what HiPower was.  Maybe someone over at Nightly News could look into that before it becomes a $1B Fleecing of  America.   Dan Nolan

Monday, February 4, 2013

Failure is not an Option! ACORE Keeps up the Fight

The next energy conference of the year will be held on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., February 5-6, 2013 by ACORE, the American Council on Renewable Energy.  It was not clear on the website exactly where the conference will be held, but if Congress is smart, they can rent out their chambers.  They aren’t being used for anything useful right now!

God Bless ACORE for keeping up the fight.  From their website they announced that, “continued inaction should not be an option for the new Congress”.  If we could get congress to see inaction as failure, then we could send Ed Harris  in in his white vest to tell them, “Failure is not an option!”. 

I passed on the first conference of the year, Tactical Power Sources 2013.  It appeared to have the usual cast of characters, so if any of you readers attended, please let me know.  Of particular interest is the status of the Army’s requirements development effort  for operational energy being spearheaded by COL Bruce McPeak , Director, Operational Energy Office, U.S. Army Combined Arms Support Command.  If you have any intel, please share.    BTW, did HiPower have new slides? 

I am putting together a review of SPIDERS Phase 1 operational demo out at Pearl.  I will be composing it  from a forward area, near the CONUS Naval base closest to Guantanamo.  I cannot reveal the exact secret location, but it is in a different time zone, one where it is always 5 O’clock.   This may reflect the coherence of the report, but that has never been an issue in these proses.  Dan Nolan

Friday, January 25, 2013

DLA-E Marshalls Energy Gurus: DoD Will Not Pass on Alt Gas.

The crème de la creme of the DoD fuels world met at the Defense Logistics Agency Energy’s headquarters at Fort Belvoir, Va., on Jan. 9.  The purpose of the meeting was to discuss accomplishments and the way ahead.  They discussed the implementation of the DOD policy letter from 2012 on Alt Fuels and opportunities for the future.  No mention of the next “Great Green Fleet” or specific plans, but everyone now knows what the other ones are doing and what plans they have.  I assume they are keeping it quiet so as not to draw the ire of Senator McCain.

With the Army hitting the pause button on spending, it will be up to the Navy and Air Force to carry the load here.  But after last year’s brouhaha, those Service Chiefs might be leery about drawing fire.  If the President’s comments on renewable energy in his inaugural speech are to be taken seriously, someone will have to put money behind it.   That means subsidies (new taxes?) or using the Military to get after it for liquid fuels. 

The President will have to put our money where his mouth is to make this happen.  I will watch to see what Executive Orders are issued in the next 90 days to support this.  My sense is that the Services aren’t looking to spend money that does not directly impact readiness and that Congress is unlikely to get their stuff together long enough to fund Alt Fuels.  Let me know what you think!  Except CAPT Pugh; I KNOW where you are, my brother!  Dan Nolan

Friday, January 18, 2013

Army Grinds to a Halt: Leadership Issues Cease and Desist to Projects "not directly connected to matters of life, health or safety,".

On January 16th, Army Sec McHugh and Chief of Staff of the Army Ray Odierno released a memo with 15  "near-term actions to help the Army reduce our expenditure rate and mitigate budget execution risks in order to avoid even more serious future fiscal shortfalls."  Among them appears to be a death knell for energy projects….but I could be wrong!

The memo directed installation commanders to “cease facility sustainment activity that is not directly connected to matters of life, health or safety, and to stop restoration and modernization projects”.  One would argue that an EUL supported by a PPA would not be sustainment activity, but the need to manage the procurement process maybe. 

It will be even more critical for industry to demonstrate their value and for contracting officers to be more flexible in their thinking to survive this hiatus.  The need for energy security persists, just as the need to improve facilities persists.  It will be a challenge to restart any program suspended by this measure.

We will continue to monitor the progress on the impending (or suspending?) MATOC, but this should make people a little nervous and giggly.

Meanwhile, the day before the memo, McHugh made his way down to the trailer park at Fort Belvoir to visit the Rapid Equipping Force.  While they may be throttling back in other areas, taking care of immediate combat needs is not one of them.  COL Newell showed the SecArmy all the cool kit, including their Energy to the Tactical Edge, or E2E, suite of capabilities.  Steven Mapes, the product lead for Soldier Power at PEO Soldier, showed off the Soldier Worn Integrated Power System, to McHugh.  What is notable here is not that the SWIPS got a high level review, but that the acquisition community recognizes that playing with other may have a positive outcome.  In an environment of dwindling resources, projects directly connected to the fight will be sustained. 

Will keep you posted.  Dan Nolan   

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Big Plate for New SecDef: Energy Gets in the Que

Excellent piece by Annie Snider in E&E about Senator Hagel’s nomination and the implication for DOD energy efforts.   With Senator Inhofe as the Senate Armed Services Committee, it might be a bit contentious.  Senator Udall has indicated that the $15B DOD energy budget will be a subject during the hearing.

With everything else that DOD has on their plate, I fear that energy will lose its luster.  Ms. Burke and the senior Service energy gurus will keep up the fire, but with budget cuts, Afghan drawdown and a new SecDef, it will be hard to pick the signal from the noise.  Hopefully, Hagel’s trips with Chuck Wald to visit energy rich African nations.  It is great to have these natural resources, but if you don’t have security, you just create another single point of failure (SEE: Middle East). 

Hagel is a good pick for the turbulent times ahead.  He has addressed his “Jewish Lobbyists” comments that were really directed at lobbyists in general and the holding of an unthinking position in support of anything Israel does.   Nations do not have friends; they have interests.  I wish him well during what I believe will be a revelatory confirmation process (will McCann dis a fellow Vietnam Viet?) and a tumultuous tour as SecDef.   It’s a big plate, Mr. Secretary; keep energy on it. 

One more note.  My favorite Operational Energy marauders, the USMC are at it again.  Major Brandon Newell from the E2O reports that the Leathernecks are holding a Brief to Industry on Mobile Electric Hybrid Power Sources (MEHPS).  Notice is on FedBizOpps.  Be there or be square!   Dan Nolan

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Thru a Glass Darkly: A SWAG about DOD Energy in 2013

This prediction is based upon the assumption that the country has not cease to exist due to Obamacare, the Fiscal Cliff, or the inclusion of leap year into the Mayans’ calculation.  The most likely of these was the FC, but since it is just a 10% reduction over the next 10 years and we should be down to about half a war shortly, how bad could that be? Since we dodge all these bullets, here is how I see 2013 in DOD Energy.

Contracting in 2013
                MATOC – I predict that the USACE MATOC will be let by 1 June 2013.  The first task orders will be withheld pending the resolution of the various protesting proposers deemed “noncompliant” by the proposal review panel.  Expect great fun and games.  Earliest I would expect to see task orders is 30 September, just in time to qualify for FY2013!