Thursday, May 24, 2012

Army, Air Force Renewable Energy Push

Army, Air Force Mount Renewable Energy Push
May 23, 2012 – The Army and Air Force are committed to developing one billion watts of renewable energy on their installations by 2025, senior leaders from both services announced yesterday.

The plan marks the latest milestone in a multi-year endeavor to find ways to make the military more energy efficient, said Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for installations, energy and environment, and Terry Yonkers, assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment and logistics.

One gigawatt, a unit of power equal to one billion watts, can power about 250,000 homes, Hammack explained.

Energy security drives the initiatives, Hammack said, adding that increased usage of renewable energy -- such as solar power -- on military installations would enable them to operate even if local power grids go down.

“Right now, the bases operate off of a nationwide electric grid, which, as populations grow, is getting aged and vulnerable,” Hammack said. “This is a move toward distributed energy where you’re generating [it] at the point of use.”

The Army Corps of Engineers will work with the two services to assess land and resources and to determine energy transmission capabilities, Hammack said.

As the technology develops, she said, renewable energy steps will include the installation of solar paneling on military base buildings and vehicle garages, and dual-usage of the panels as land buffers.

Biofuels will be a behind-the-scenes game changer for the Air Force, according to Yonkers, who lauded the seminal research of alternative fuels at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

“These biofuels don’t produce the kind of soot that conventional crude oil-derived fuels produce,” Yonkers said, adding that this results in a cooler-running engine, which reduces metal fatigue and increases engine life. read more>>>

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