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US Military, the world’s largest polluter is implementing energy security strategy reducing future resource risk and increasing mission assurance

In the domain of defense, energy has the potential to be both an enabler of hard power but also, via denial, arguably itself to be a weapon of war. Energy enables nearly everything the military does, and the primary objective is mission assurance and decisive advantage on the battlefield.  Energy security ensures  powering of  capable major weapons systems and communications infrastructure at the desired levels of performance, range, and readiness.


Energy, of course, is a weapon of war. Putin’s army is targeting Ukrainian fuel depots, supply chains, and refineries in its brutal assault. Cutting off the other side’s access to gasoline, diesel, and oil is a tried and true tactic to gain a military upper hand.


According to the International Energy Agency, Russia is the world’s largest oil exporter to global markets, and its natural gas fuels the European economy. The energy crisis is particularly acute in Germany, which relies on Russia for roughly half of its natural gas and coal and for more than one-third of its oil.


In 2021, 60% of Russia’s revenues were from energy exports. While, as of April 7, Europe had given Kyiv over €1 billion to support Ukraine’s fight against the Russian invasion, it paid Russia €35 billion for energy imports during that same period. In other words, Europe has been paying for Russia’s attack on its smaller, democratic neighbor with one hand because it is still buying Russian energy exports, while sanctioning other Russian activities with the other. The need to secure oil supplies and to maintain the stability of world oil markets has played a major role in shaping US foreign policy and dictating US military strategy and deployment.


The Ukraine crisis has shown there is now a strategic argument for net zero from a national security perspective. Militaries have long been innovation pioneers, developing technology that may well be crucial to net-zero innovation, they have themselves historically been laggards when it comes to actually reducing the emissions of their operations.


But resupplying energy to combat theaters and the battlespace edge leads to vulnerability of supply lines which has been exploited by enemy fighters. One in nearly 40 fuel convoys in Iraq in 2007 resulted in a death or serious injury, according to a study commissioned by the Defense Department. In Afghanistan the same year, one in 24 fuel convoys suffered casualties and U.S. Marine Corps suffered casualty for every fifty convoys in Afghanistan.


Therefore one of the militaries long term goal is  enhancing the ratio of the fighting “tooth” of the military to the supporting logistics “tail”. The size and requirements of the tooth of the fighting force directly affect the size and requirements of the resupplying tail. For example, when combat vehicles and warfighters deploy to theaters, they require additional vehicles and personnel as combat support elements (such as medical, supplies and other needs), and these combat support elements, themselves require resupply from other combat service support elements along the tail. In the 1990–91 Persian Gulf War, about 4 gallons of fuel per soldier was consumed per day. In 2006, the US operations in Iraq and Afghanistan burned about 16 gallons of fuel per soldier on average per day, almost twice as much as the year before. Reducing energy and water requirements for the fighting tooth represents a significant and realizable opportunity to shift the fundamental tooth-to-tail ratio in the Armed Services.


The US military had been the largest single consumer of energy in the world. In FY 2013, the Department spent almost $17 billion dollars to provide more than 111 million barrels of liquid fuels for military operations, training, and readiness.  The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is the federal government’s biggest energy consumer. In 2021 it used 77 percent of the government’s total consumption—15 times the energy consumption of the second-place agency, the U.S. Post Office


Energy considerations have long been essential to mission delivery of armed forces worldwide. These include operations in theater of conflict, for land, air, and water transport, and for installations and forward operating locations.


The military also consumes huge amount of electricity, which accounts for even more greenhouse gas emissions. In FY 2006, the DoD used almost 30,000 gigawatt hours of electricity at a cost of almost $2.2 billion. The demand is further expected to increase in future as new and diverse capabilities are developed in future to respond to complex, global security environment.


Among the DoD’s biggest energy uses comes from the energy needed to power, heat and cool buildings in its facilities, including Army and Air Force bases, Navy yards and fuel required for non-tactical vehicles. The largest consumer of installation facility energy in 2020 was the Army, at 36 percent of the military’s total spending. The next-highest user was the Air Force, at 30 percent, and the Navy, at 28 percent.


Electrical grid are also vulnerable to natural disasters like tornados, hurricanes and winter storms, which cost between $18 and $33 billion every year in power outages and US infrastructure damage. They are also susceptible to deliberate attacks on the grid. These can either be physical attacks—like the 2013 sniper attack on a Silicon Valley substation, which cost $100 million and lasted 27 days —or computer hacking that causes cascading disruptions like in the Ukraine blackouts in 2016. In 2012, the US Department of Defense reported about 200 cyber incidents across critical infrastructure systems and nearly half targeted the electrical grid.


Improved energy performance  can reduce the risk and effects of attacks on supply lines and enable tactical and operational superiority. Security is also derived through minimizing the energy required for vehicles and forward locations. Reducing and diversifying fuel use are also drivers behind economic considerations of military energy use.


Another driver behind the American military’s move to clean sources of energy is climate change – a threat that military leaders continue to warn policy makers is very real and will impact the military, whether it’s responding to natural disasters or responding to conflicts caused by scarce resources. The U.S. military generates 750,000 tons of toxic waste annually, more than the five largest U.S. chemical companies combined, making the U.S. military the world’s largest polluter.


From fighter jets to lumbering aircraft carriers, the armed forces produce substantial emissions: the estimated 59 million metric tonnes of CO2 the US Department of Defense emits each year is more than the annual emissions of many European countries. In the UK, the Ministry of Defence is responsible for around half of the country’s total public sector emissions.

Report: The U.S. Military Emits More CO2 Than Many Industrialized Nations [Infographic]

The US Air Force (USAF) is the single largest consumer of jet fuel in the world, a quarter of the world’s jet fuel. B-52 bombers consume 3,300 U.S. gallons per hour, and the F-16 fighter uses 800 gallons per hour.  CO2 emissions from jet fuel are larger — possibly triple — per gallon than those from diesel and oil. Further, aircraft exhaust has unique polluting effects that result in greater warming effect by per unit of fuel used.


It also makes sense for the defence sector to fully align itself with climate action due to the fact that climate change brings massive military risk, both in how it destabilises environments where bases may be situated or equipment held, and how it increases the risk of social or economic change that can trigger conflict.


While boosting the military energy readiness by actively promoting low-and no-carbon energy alternatives, the Defense Department is also working to reduce its use of fossil fuels and the resulting greenhouse gases being produced.


Resilient, sustainable and adequate sources of energy are key elements of the energy strategy of the US armed forces. Department of Defense (DoD) had embarked upon an ambitious program of expanded renewable energy generation on bases and in the field, with a goal of producing 25% of its energy from renewable sources by 2025. The armed forces nearly doubled renewable power generation between 2011 and 2015, to 10,534 billion British thermal units, or enough to power about 286,000 average U.S. homes, according to a Department of Defense report. The number of military renewable energy projects nearly tripled to 1,390 between 2011 and 2015, department data showed, with a number of utilities and solar companies benefiting.


Solar photo voltaic (PV)-powered Distributed microgrid tech can secure the electrical grids at military bases to reduce the impact of cyber attacks, physical attacks from terrorists and natural disasters. Depending on geographical locations across the US, military installations get electricity from solar, wind, geothermal, waste-to-energy landfill gas and biomass.Renewable technologies, such as solar devices for servicemen, waste-to-energy, solar-powered unmanned aerial vehicles and other ways of using locally-sourced energy, are key to fuel diversification goals.


The  senior military officials intend to “forge ahead under the new administration with a decade-long effort to convert its fuel-hungry operations to renewable power,” according to Reuter report. “We expect that it’s going to continue during the Trump administration,” said Lt. Col. Wayne Kinsel, head of the infrastructure unit of the Air Force Asset Management Division for Logistics, Engineering and Force Protection. “It’s really not political.”


“The military recognises the importance of renewable energy in achieving their missions in more effective ways,” says Galen Nelson, Director of Innovation at the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, who collaborates with military leaders in the Bay State on clean energy projects. “Military leaders are committed to incorporating clean energy into their assets, not least because the cost of renewable energy has come down dramatically in recent years.”

Energy Security Strategy

The problem of fuel consumption and of the security of fuel supplies has particularly affected the largest NATO operation in history of Afghanistan. NATO Energy Security Centre of Excellence was founded in Lithuania (NATO ENSEC COE) in 2012, joining the family of the other NATO COE and will provide 1) strategic analysis and research; 2) development of doctrine, standards and procedures; 3) education, training and exercise and 4) consultations. Some work in this area has already started, in particular NATO members are collaborating to exchange smart energy solutions to reduce fossil fuel consumption in their respective militaries, and reduce the threat to the environment

The US Army’s energy consumption is concentrated in its installations, which consume an average of 21 million barrels of petroleum per year. One strategy, armed forces is using to achieve its renewable goals, is “the creation of “net-zero” environments, where energy consumption equals the energy created on-site.” Army Energy Security Implementation Strategy, requires at least five installations meet “net-zero” energy goals by 2020 and deploy 1 GW of renewable energy on their installations by 2025.

The U.S. Army has published and released its strategic roadmap to future energy security and sustainability. The Energy Security and Sustainability (ES2) Strategy will foster a more adaptable and resilient force, prepared for a future defined by complexity, uncertainty and rapid change.

The strategy outlines five strategic goals- Inform Decisions, Optimize Use, Assure Access, Build Resiliency and Drive Innovation- which will be achieved through steady progress across the Army enterprise — materiel, readiness, human capital, services and infrastructure — with targeted measures and metrics as guides.

“Informed decisions” include consideration of total life-cycle costs, applicable externalities and intangible benefits such as increased force effectiveness, security, and continuity of operations; decreased operational risk; decreased health and safety risks; and enhanced resource stewardship today and into the future. To do this, the Army will integrate resource considerations and cost management into its range of plans, business processes, materiel management, and acquisition strategies, along with associated investment and risk management processes at all relevant levels from headquarters to units and installations

“Optimize use” calls for improving productivity by reducing resource demand, investing in increased efficiency or enhanced recovery, and switching to renewable resources. Improved resource productivity can increase security, reduce expense and minimize environmental impacts from systems, installations, and operations.

“Assure Access” to provide reliable access to energy, water, and land resources and protect delivery mechanisms to mission-essential functions and applications, both domestically and to contingency bases during operational deployments.

“Build Resiliency” by advancing the capability for systems, installations, personnel, and units to respond to unforeseen disruptions and quickly recover while continuing critical activities. Resilience requires coordinated action to anticipate, prepare for, and adapt to changing conditions and withstand, respond to, and recover rapidly from disruptions. Adopting flexibility and adaptable approaches at all levels, from individual to enterprise, ensures that we can accomplish the mission in the face of both near- and long-term change.

“Drive Innovation” by identifying new concepts; develop, test, and field new processes and technologies; and institutionalize and communicate best practices to maximize resource effectiveness. While we continually seek out technological and doctrinal innovations, we need to link these innovations to more effective use of energy, water, and land to maximize our capabilities. As we invest in new technologies and the capabilities that they create or enhance, we need to ensure that we include the life-cycle energy and water requirements so that we maximize each technology’s effectiveness.

“This strategy will guide the Army to maintain our global superiority by reducing future resource risk and increasing mission assurance,” writes Daniel B. Allyn General, U.S. Army Vice Chief of Staff.

Renewable Power for Military

However, even as net zero makes sense from a military strategy point of view, the armed forces have historically been a key blocker of new renewables, in particular offshore wind. Military opposition to offshore wind has typically centered on the tendency of wind turbines to interfere with long-range radar as well as air traffic management systems and low flying operations.


“These are all valid concerns over the legitimate risk of wind turbine blades impinging on military operations and training,” says vice-admiral Dennis McGinn from think tank RMI, who was also assistant secretary of the navy for energy, installations and environment in the Obama administration. However, these concerns have – alongside unfavourable clean energy policies – been a key reason why US offshore wind remains so undeveloped in comparison with other markets. As recently as 2020, it was reported that the Pentagon was blocking efforts to develop offshore wind off the California coast, for example.


Although some 60% of US military emissions is from vehicle fuel, much of which might be difficult to abate in the short term, around 25% comes from purchased electricity, which is easier to decarbonise through the roll-out of renewables with battery storage.


The Military has constructed  its largest solar power plant at Fort Huachuca in Arizona, where solar panels will be installed over 68 acres of military base. In Afghanistan solar arrays were used at fixed-site locations, reducing the high transportation cost. Col. Brian Magnuson, the head of the Marines’ expeditionary energy office, established in 2009, said his office aims to replace diesel-powered generators on the battlefield with solar power, and to reduce energy use with efficiency measures such as insulated tents and the deployment of advanced batteries. “These technologies are a way to become more effective in combat,” Magnuson said. “This is about war-fighting capability,” as reported by Timothy Gardner in Reuters. The troops are also using solar backpacks to charge field gear.



Energy Security Initiatives

DoD energy resilience guidelines and requirements are outlined through various policies and
directives. These include the following core documents and guidelines:
 Title 10, United States Code
 National Defense Authorization Acts (NDAA)
 Department of Defense Appropriations Acts
 DoD Instruction 4170.11 – Installation Energy Management, Energy Resilience


The US DOD released “Energy for the Warfighter: The Department of Defense Operational Energy Strategy” in June 2011, which set the overall direction for energy use in the Department: to assure reliable supplies of energy for 21st century military operations. It outlines three ways to meet that goal: reducing the demand for energy; expanding and securing the supply of energy; and building energy security into the future force. The military needs reliable energy that is “off the grid,” since; public electrical utilities are vulnerable to adverse weather conditions and potential sabotage. According to US Military, the reductions in the Department’s need for energy can improve warfighting capabilities, such as increased range, better endurance, longer time on station, and reduced requirements for resupply.


The US Armed Forces set out ambitious goals to increase total energy consumption from renewable sources: Army – 25% by 2025; Navy – 50% by 2020; and Air Force – 25% of total electricity use from alternative energy by 2025. As military renewable power projects tripled to 1,390 between 2011 and 2015, which has benefited green energy contractors, primarily, utilities and solar companies, the military’s oil consumption fell by 20% from 2007 to 2015. Depending on the type of mission, DoD has invested in deploying and/or generating energy in locations where military forces operate rather than having to transport fuel long distances from delivery points.


While reliance on a specific renewable technology is not the main driver for the Air Force, and it is more a matter what can be used to achieve energy resilience and efficiency, solar has been the dominant source of clean energy for us at the base,” says Air Force Maj. Shawn Doyle with the Otis Air National Guard Base in Joint Base Cape Cod, Massachusetts. With the ultimate goal of making base energy infrastructure self-sufficient by using microgrids and relying less on public utilities, Maj. Doyle says that the Department of Defense is exploring the use of deployable microgrids and energy storage in the military, which are currently at a testing phase.


The Department has also installed new renewable energy technologies at the building level. For example, the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) included rooftop photovoltaic panels and 252 geothermal wells (ground source heat pump system) at its new Aviation Operations Center completed in January 2018, which are estimated to save 50% of the annual energy costs for the facility.


Energy resilience is the ability to avoid, prepare for, minimize, adapt to, and recover from anticipated and unanticipated energy disruptions in order to ensure energy availability and reliability sufficient to provide for mission assurance and readiness. This includes mission essential operations related to readiness, and to execute or rapidly reestablish mission essential requirements. Threats to energy resilience include cyber and physical attacks, natural disasters, and reliability risks due to aging equipment, substandard performance, and other operational


There is a common agreement among former and current military servicemen  that renewable energy is important to meeting two main recent energy goals of the US armed forces – resilience and efficiency.  “Resilience is the ability to survive and thrive under a changing situation that can happen quickly or over a long-term, and be able to recover quickly from an attack, whether it is cyber or physical, or due to changing global climate, said former Chief of US Army Operational Energy Office Paul Roege. And renewable energy is an important piece of the puzzle for military’s energy resilience because it can improve reliability.”


Special contracting authorities, such as power purchase agreements (PPAs), are used to install and operate renewable energy projects on DoD installations. For example, a PPA at Vandenberg Air Force Base led to the installation of a 28.2 MW solar photovoltaic system on 129.1 acres, which became operational in FY 2018. All the energy will be used exclusively by the installation for the next 26 years. From January 2018 through the end of the fiscal year, the system generated almost 35.5 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of renewable energy, representing 38% of the installation’s electrical energy needs.


In FY 2018, the Army also added 12.8 MW of renewable energy capacity through special contracting authorities (e.g., PPA, ESPC, UESC, and GSA area-wide contract), with a further 2.0 MW added through Departmental funding. The Department has also installed new renewable energy technologies at the building level. For example, the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) included rooftop photovoltaic panels and 252 geothermal wells (ground source heat pump system) at its new Aviation Operations Center completed in January 2018, which are
estimated to save 50% of the annual energy costs for the facility.


In the US, a Department of Defense-run ‘Clearinghouse’ works with industry to promote domestic energy development while ensuring any risks to military capability are minimised. The latter range from the aforementioned interruptions to radar capabilities, to ensuring the military retains space to test missiles, to making sure solar systems do not produce a solar “glare” by reflecting the sun back at members of the armed forces. Originally, the government-run organisation was largely used to approve onshore renewables, but the past two years have seen it facilitate new offshore developments too, says McGinn.


“We are moving in the right direction,” says Vattenfall’s Goncalves-Collins. “The military is taking a more active role [in permitting], twinned with its own understanding that it needs to adapt training and operations to a low-carbon future.”



In February 2022, the U.S. Army unveiled its Climate Strategy—a framework for long-term climate adaptation and mitigation across the Army.

Per the branch’s summary, “The strategy drives actions to enhance readiness, resiliency and capabilities of the force. By implementing the lines of effort (LOE) outlined in the Army Climate Strategy, the Army will achieve the goals of a resilient and sustainable land force able to operate in all domains with effective adaptation and mitigation measures against climate change, consistent with Army modernization efforts.”

The Army is taking and will continue to take actions that will reduce GHG emissions. Its goals include:

  • Achieve 50% reduction in Army net GHG pollution by 2030, compared to 2005 levels
  • Attain net-zero Army GHG emissions by 2050
  • Proactively consider the security implications of climate change in strategy, planning, acquisition, supply chain, and programming documents and processes


Department of Navy

The Navy has a comprehensive goal of producing 1 GW of renewable energy by 2020—five years earlier than the Army. The Navy’s energy goals include: energy efficient acquisition, reduction of petroleum use, production of 50 percent clean energy installations on shore, and the sailing of the Great Green Fleet.  Steve Iselin, principal deputy assistant Secretary of the Navy (Energy, Installations and Environment), in his acting capacity as the assistant secretary of the Navy (EI&E), issued the Department of the Navy Energy Security Framework, which defined the “Three Pillars of Energy Security” as resiliency (capability to recover from utility failures), reliability (capability to resist utility failures) and efficiency (capability to reduce demand and cost for utilities)


Naval Facility Engineering Command’s Resilient Energy Program Office (NAVFAC REPO),  has already utilized third-party financing contracts to dramatically reduce shore energy consumption while providing infrastructure upgrades. From 2012 through 2016, NAVFAC awarded more than $654 million in third-party financed energy projects that will provide facility and utility system upgrades. Once fully constructed, these upgrades will save DON 2.3 trillion BTUs of energy and 243 million gallons of water annually.


Further, NAVFAC is focused on a new pipeline of work which includes executing approximately 700 megawatts of distributed energy generation projects to improve the energy security posture at 26 installations through third-party financed Enhanced Use Leases. The program is intended to harness the power of private-sector funds to advance resilient infrastructure goals resulting in more than $1.3 billion of privately-funded generation and microgrid assets.


US Navy launched great green fleet

Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, the USS Stockdale (DDG 106), has become the first US Navy ship to run on an alternative fuel blend as part of its regular operations, following the launch of the Great Green Fleet. S Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said: “The Great Green Fleet shows how we are transforming our energy use to make us better warfighters, to go farther, stay longer and deliver more firepower. In short, to enable us to provide the global presence that is our mission.” The fuel used in the Great Green Fleet initiative is derived from waste beef fat and feedstock of beef tallow procured from farmers and ranchers in the midwest. It also consists of traditional petroleum, provided by Tesoro. The JCS CSG fleet will also include energy-efficient features, such as stern flaps, LED lights and conservation procedures.


Other ships, aircraft, amphibious and expeditionary forces, and shore installations using alternative fuels in the course of performing planned mission functions will be part of the Great Green Fleet throughout 2016, the navy said. The alternative fuel will require no changes to ship engines, transport or delivery equipment, or operational procedures. The initiative is expected to offer support and promote farmers, ranchers and rural manufacturing jobs. The development and deployment of the Great Green Fleet will include more energy efficient ships and aircraft in addition to utilizing alternative energy, predominantly nuclear power.



 Air Force Initiatives

Implementation of the Air Force Energy Strategic Plan includes four priorities: improve resiliency, reduce demand, assure supply and foster an energy awareness culture. Like the Army and Navy, the Air Force has a goal of producing 1 GW of renewable energy, but wants this goal to support on-site capacity by 2016. The Air Force is also pushing toward ensuring all new buildings are designed to achieve zero-net-energy by 2030, beginning in 2020.


In FY 2013, the Air Force had approximately 261 renewable energy projects, including solar and waste-to-energy using landfill gas and wind energy. Cape Cod Air Force Station is the first Air Force net-zero installation, using wind power turbines on site. These turbines generate approximately 8,000 MW of electricity, saving Cape Cod an estimated $1 million per year.


Smart Microgrid

To address the energy issue, the DoD is building renewable energy and storage microgrid projects for its bases across the country. The ability of microgrids to enhance electric reliability and resilience in response to local grid power outages is currently the primary driver of their deployments, especially for U.S. military bases. Microgrids are being increasingly deployed at critical, non- military facilities such as hospitals, fire stations, and airports to provide uninterrupted power during local electric utility outages.


The R&D on military microgrids began a serious ramp-up in 2013 with the “SPIDERS” self-forming microgrid program, which is also eyeing the electric vehicle connection. The work has continued into the Trump* administration. That includes transportable renewable energy and microgrids for forward operating bases, as well as systems for permanent military installations. In 2020, DOD tapped NRECA for a $1.9 million microgrid grant that will dovetail with the newly announced microgrid projects and open things out to all 95 facilities currently served by NRECA members. NRECA has already developed something called the Open Modeling Framework, which provides its members with a one-stop source for making decisions about smart grid technology. The framework enables coops to plug their own operational data into the software, along with local weather and geographic data, before they invest in new technology.


Northern Reliability, Inc. (NRI) of Waterbury, VT announced its selection by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) to design and build two transportable microgrid Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) for the U.S. Navy. The microgrid will use solar energy and the BESS, along with Navy site generation, to provide emergency backup electricity to critical Navy electrical loads. Each NRI BESS will use 250-kW, 4-hour lithium-ion based systems contained in transportable shipping containers. Additionally, both will be fitted with Navy-approved supplemental fire protection components and incorporate an innovative lithium-ion battery cell off-gas detection device which is integrated with the fire protection/suppression system.


“For our military, mobile microgrids with energy storage offer a readily available, quiet power and energy reserve for military decisionmakers to use during day-to-day operations. This solution provides customers with reliable power, keeps our troops safer, enables operational flexibility, and provides the effective integration of modern-day renewable resources with legacy assets like backup diesel generators, wherever needed.”


Kirtland Air Force Base, where DOD and the Department of Energy have already launched a microgrid into operation, complete with energy storage and renewable energy. “The project…resulted in the installation of a single-bus, ten-node 250 kW DC microgrid on KAFB that links together generation and load between Kirtland DoD facilities, Sandia’s Distributed Energy Technology Laboratory (DETL), and the Photovoltaic Systems Evaluation Laboratory (PSEL) to power a demonstration site consisting of six housing units, a laundromat and a community center,” DOE recapped earlier this summer. These projects are a few examples of how the Air Force plans to continue operations by making the shift to alternative energy usage.


“Army is also developing “smart microgrids” that prioritize and manage power loads, moving energy around to where it’s needed most. The grids would also use renewable energy like solar, wind or hydro-electric said Katherine Hammack, who serves as assistant secretary of the Army for installations, energy and environment. One such smart microgrid, the Army’s largest, is located on Fort Drum, New York, where a coal-fired power plant was converted to produce energy from biomass, she said. That plant now supplies power to the installation and the local community. Excess energy produced there can also be transferred back to the local power company. The smart grid is also reliable, even in event of disruption from the main power grid, the grid could survive under its own power.


Army has partnered with Sandia National Laboratories to provide a solar-powered microgrid and vehicle-to-grid storage under Smart Power Infrastructure Demonstration for Energy Reliability and Security, or SPIDERS program. The vehicle-to-grid approach vehicles as microgrid energy storage devices, When the vehicles are parked, they receive electrical power from the microgrid. If they have excess power, they return it to the microgrid. When the vehicles are being used, the vehicles themselves provide power to Soldiers who, for example, might be running electric power tools or compressors, she said. This alleviates the need for towing petroleum-fed generators around.


The company Xendee Corporation, which entered into a contract with DOD 2019 to engineer something called “the Standardized Platform to Guide Rapid and Repeatable Modelling and Design of Secure and Resilient DoD Microgrids” globally. The contract calls for Xendee to deliver microgrid designs that “enhance energy reliability, while providing new services such as the ability to safely ride-out prolonged utility power outages and sustain mission critical operations, using renewable energy resources and storage in an integrated Microgrid system.”


For example, the California National Guard and U.S. In May 2022, the Army Corps of Engineers began construction of a 51-megawatt (MW), solar and storage microgrid project located on 99 acres at the Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos. The Los Alamitos Microgrid will consist of 28 MW in solar photovoltaic capacity, a 20-MW/40-megawatt-hour (MWh) energy storage system and a 3-MW diesel backup generator. The microgrid is privately funded and under development by Bright Canyon Energy, which will build, own, and operate it. Once operational, the system can isolate the base from the main grid and keep electricity running for up to 14 days. The facility is expected to be operational by the summer of 2023.


Wave Energy Device Deployed in Hawaii

Northwest Energy Innovations (NWEI) has successfully deployed its Azura wave energy device at the United States Navy’s Wave Energy Test Site (WETS) near Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, Hawaii. The device will be deployed for 12 months of grid-connected testing as part of a rigorous program to commercialize the Azura technology. Azura is a 45-ton (41-tonne) multi-mode; point absorber wave energy converter that through its unique 360-degree rotating float mechanism, is able to extract power from both the heave (vertical) and surge (horizontal) motions of waves, to maximize energy capture. The system produces power as a result of the relative rotational motion between the hull and float.


Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion technology

Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion technology, known as OTEC, uses the ocean’s natural thermal gradient to generate power. In geographical areas with warm surface water and cold deep water, the temperature difference can be leveraged to drive a steam cycle that turns a turbine and produces power. Warm surface sea water passes through a heat exchanger, vaporizing a low boiling point working fluid to drive a turbine generator, producing electricity.


This process can serve as a baseload power generation system that produces a significant amount of renewable, non-polluting power, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Military shore-side bases and communities in the tropics, many of which are largely dependent on imported fossil fuels for power and transportation, are ideal candidates for such a system. Lockheed Martin and Reignwood Group recently signed a contract to design a 10-megawatt OTEC power plant – the world’s largest OTEC project developed to date.


Energy Efficient technologies

The military is also using energy efficient technologies like Waste Heat to Power (WHP), that recovers waste heat produced by a physical plant and uses it to generate electricity and Combined Heat and Power plant (CHP) systems that simultaneously produce electricity and heat from a single fuel source, for supplying base-load power, hot water and chilled water. These initiatives are expected to enhance energy security, save money and increase mission assurance for the military.


Reduced external energy needs through device, motor, and housing efficiency and distributed energy resources at combat outposts and forward operating bases could reduce the amount of transported fuel required to serve these locations. Increased efficiency of tactical and non-tactical vehicles could further reduce the logistics needs of fuel resupplies.



Energy used by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) fell to 0.75 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) in fiscal year (FY) 2013, the lowest recorded level since at least FY 1975, the earliest available data from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP). In FY18, 15.8% of facility electricity consumption was produced and procured from renewable energy sources. DoD achieved its interim goal of ≥15% by FY 2018, as per Title 10, United States Code §2911(g)(2), and is well positioned to meet the ≥25% by FY 2025 goal.


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