Money-saving energy initiatives get spotlight in Afghanistan

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan — Cut­ting-edge tech­nol­o­gy and ener­gy ini­tia­tives for Oper­a­tion Endur­ing Free­dom, or OEF, that bring ener­gy effi­cient pow­er gen­er­a­tion to for­ward-deployed units were show­cased to senior Depart­ment of Defense per­son­nel Jan 8.

Maj. Thomas W. Casey, Rapid Equip­ping Force team chief, Afghanistan, briefs Sharon Burke, assis­tant sec­re­tary of defense for oper­a­tional ener­gy plans and pro­grams, on the capa­bil­i­ties of a Solar Stick 360 hybrid solar and fos­sil fuel pow­er sys­tem
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Mem­bers of the 401st Army Field Sup­port Brigade’s Research, Devel­op­ment and Engi­neer­ing Com­mand Field Assis­tance in Sci­ence and Tech­nol­o­gy Cen­ter, U.S. Army Rapid Equip­ping Force per­son­nel were also at the demonstrations. 

Frank Kendall, act­ing under­sec­re­tary of defense for acqui­si­tion, logis­tics and tech­nol­o­gy, and Sharon Burke, assis­tant sec­re­tary of defense for oper­a­tional ener­gy plans and pro­grams, vis­it­ed Camp Sabalu-Har­ri­son to see the first micro­grid emplaced in OEF. The micro­grid is a joint ven­ture encom­pass­ing Project Man­ag­er Mobile Elec­tric Pow­er, Research, Devel­op­ment and Engi­neer­ing Com­mand or REDCOM, U.S. Forces Afghanistan and was sup­port­ed by Burke’s office. 

They also saw sev­er­al solar-ener­gy plat­forms that Rapid Equip­ping Force, known as REF, uses in its Ener­gy to the Edge ini­tia­tive to pro­vide portable ener­gy solu­tions designed to oper­ate more effi­cient­ly, reduce fuel con­sump­tion and gen­er­a­tor main­te­nance time while stor­ing excess ener­gy to meet the ener­gy require­ments of com­bat­ant com­man­ders at for­ward oper­at­ing tac­ti­cal units. 

Fol­low­ing brief­in­gs on the sta­t­ic dis­plays, Burke dis­cussed the future of the micro­grid project and a new pro­gram, the Ener­gy Ini­tia­tive Prov­ing Ground, or EIPG, that will estab­lish a quan­ti­ta­tive base­line for ener­gy and fuel use in expe­di­tionary oper­a­tions and sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly eval­u­ate the impact of tech­nol­o­gy such as improved effi­cien­cy envi­ron­men­tal con­trol units, insu­lat­ing ther­mal tent lin­ers, tent shades, and hybrid solar-elec­tri­cal pow­er technology. 

The EIPG will also place a hybrid solar pow­er sys­tem into a Vil­lage Sta­bil­i­ty Plat­form site for eval­u­a­tion as a sta­ble, reli­able pow­er source reduc­ing the fuel bur­den for crit­i­cal Com­mand & Con­trol Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and Sur­veil­lance systems. 

Burke not­ed that the suc­cess­ful demon­stra­tion of the micro­grid project was uncer­tain after Project Man­ag­er Mobile Elec­tric Pow­er, or PM- MEP, was forced to recall their sub­ject-mat­ter expert in mid-Decem­ber. Zalews­ki vol­un­teered to stew­ard Camp Sabalu-Har­ri­son and the micro­grid to keep it oper­a­tional and devel­oped a mem­o­ran­dum of agree­ment between the RDECOM senior offi­cer in OEF, the PM MEP, and the camp may­or to share respon­si­bil­i­ties between RDECOM’s Field Assis­tance in Sci­ence and Tech­nol­o­gy Cen­ter, known as RFAST‑C, and the mayor’s cell for stew­ard­ship of the micro­grid into the spring, when pri­ma­ry pow­er is slat­ed to be run to the site and the micro­grid will no longer be required. 

Burke rec­og­nized and thanked Lt. Col. Alan C. Samuels, RFAST‑C direc­tor, U.S Navy Cmdr. Dane Hon­ra­do, Camp Sabalu-Har­ri­son life sup­port area com­man­der, Maj. Thomas W. Casey, REF team chief, Afghanistan and Michael J. Zalews­ki, RFAST‑C pow­er and ener­gy engi­neer, for their work on ener­gy initiatives. 

U.S. Army 

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