USA — New Task Force to Promote Energy Initiatives

WASHINGTON, Aug. 11, 2011 — A new task force to stand up by mid-Sep­tem­ber will take the Army’s ener­gy ini­tia­tives to the next lev­el with a goal of get­ting 25 per­cent of the Army’s pow­er from renew­able sources by 2025, Army Sec­re­tary John M. McHugh announced yes­ter­day.

The Ener­gy Ini­tia­tives Task Force for Large-scale Renew­able Ener­gy Projects will build on efforts already under way at Army instal­la­tions world­wide, McHugh said at the­GovEn­er­gy Con­fer­ence in Cincin­nati.

The Army already has 126 renew­able projects, he not­ed, includ­ing a major solar project at Fort Irwin, Calif., that, once com­plet­ed, will stretch across an area the size of Man­hat­tan in New York.

“We think we’ve made a great start,” he said, cit­ing ini­tia­tives that include micro­grids, solar and nat­ur­al gas. “But to meet our longer-term objec­tives,” he added, “we have to do bet­ter.”

The new task force will seek new ways to part­ner with the pri­vate sec­tor on a vari­ety of large-scale renew­able ener­gy and alter­na­tive ener­gy pro­grams with­in the con­ti­nen­tal Unit­ed States. McHugh esti­mat­ed that meet­ing the 2025 objec­tive will require about $7.1 bil­lion in pri­vate invest­ment.

Kather­ine Ham­mack, assis­tant sec­re­tary of the Army for instal­la­tions, ener­gy and envi­ron­ment, said the task force will help advance ener­gy con­cepts that make finan­cial sense for every­one: the pri­vate sec­tor, the Army and the Amer­i­can tax­pay­er.

This is “the right thing to do for the envi­ron­ment –cer­tain­ly in this age of dimin­ish­ing resources –the right thing to do for fed­er­al tax­pay­ers, and most impor­tant­ly, the right thing to do for our sol­diers,” McHugh said.

Ener­gy-sav­ing ini­tia­tives the task force pro­motes will com­ple­ment oth­ers tak­ing place across the Defense Depart­ment, McHugh said.

DOD uses about 80 per­cent of the fed­er­al government’s ener­gy, with the Army con­sum­ing about 21 per­cent of that total.

“So we view our­selves as a tar­get-rich envi­ron­ment in terms of try­ing to do a bet­ter job with tax­pay­er dol­lars, try­ing to do a bet­ter job in our stew­ard­ship of the envi­ron­ment,” he said.

Most impor­tant­ly, McHugh said, the Army’s ener­gy ini­tia­tives will affect force pro­tec­tion in Iraq and Afghanistan. Less reliance on renew­able fuels at com­bat out­posts and for­ward oper­at­ing bases, as well as few­er con­voys, not only saves ener­gy, he said, but also reduces ene­my expo­sure for sol­diers who sup­port those ener­gy require­ments.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)