Green Power Helps U.S. Army Exceed Energy Goals

Renewable energy technologies, in addition to conservation and more-efficient systems, have helped the U.S. Army exceed its energy-reduction goal of 1.5 percent for fiscal year 2003.

Washington, D.C. – December 26, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] According to Satish Sharma, chief of the Utilities Branch for the U.S. Army’s office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management (ACSIM), the U.S. Army has achieved their goal in part through the continued expansion of green power projects, such as solar power used at forts Huachuca, Arizona; Carson, Colorado; and Yuma Proving Ground, New Mexico. This year the U.S. Army purchased wind-generated power from windmills in West Virginia for three posts near the nation’s capital: Fort McNair, and Walter Reed Army Medical Center, in Washington, D.C.; and the U.S. Army Research Laboratory in Adelphi, Maryland. “We have always been open to new technology and new ideas,” Sharma said. “We were on the cutting edge in front of industry in many cases.” ACSIM reported that in 1988, the U.S. Army first tried geothermal heat pumps and solar heating for commercial applications. “More than $500 million in energy-saving projects across the Army over the past several years were financed by private industry,” said Sharma. “Under the Energy Savings Performance Contracts, private firms invested in projects that will hopefully reap the government savings, and thus bring the firms profits in the long run.” Other energy-saving projects were paid for through direct U.S. Government federal funding. The U.S. Army spent US$12 million this past year under the Energy Conservation Investment Program. Conservation also helped save energy, Sharma reported, adding that tenants can have a major positive impact by using what energy they need and turning off energy sources when not required. He said the fact many units deployed to Kuwait and Iraq this year really didn’t save much energy, though, because most posts geared up for mobilization and some brought thousands of U.S. Army Reserve and U.S. National Guard troops onto the installation. Nevertheless, in actual energy usage, the U.S. Army consumed about 80.8 trillion British Thermal Units in Fiscal Year 2003. According to ACSIM officials, this was a reduction of 1.55 percent from Fiscal Year 2002. ACSIM reported that the U.S. Army is “on target” to reduce energy consumption by another 5 percent before the end of FY 2010, a goal set by a presidential executive order.

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