This solar array installed at AFCEC, Tyndall AFB, Fla., is just one of 212
renewable energy projects in operation on 89 installations. It is a small
example of how the Air Force plans to meet goals in the One Gigawatt
Renewable Energy Plan and the Net Zero Implementation Plan. (U.S. Air Force
This is one of three central heat plants at Tinker AFB, Okla., that will be
decentralized using an Energy Savings Performance Contract. The project
could reduce natural gas consumption 40 percent and save up to $7 million.
by Jennifer Elmore
Air Force Civil Engineer Center Public Affairs
2/5/2013 - TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AFNS) -- The fiscal year 2012 Annual Energy Management Report is making its way to Congress and lawmakers will likely be impressed by Air Force facility energy accomplishments.
The Air Force Civil Engineer Center submitted the report to the Office of the Civil Engineer in November. It has since been sent to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, which will forward the results to the Department of Energy and ultimately Congress.
Highlights from the fiscal 2012 report show the Air Force met all four of its major facility energy and water goals, signed a deal to build its largest solar array to date and developed a Net Zero Implementation Plan.
Here's a look at the top 10 accomplishments of 2012 abstracted from the report
1. Energy and water goals surpassed: The Air Force's dedication to a strong facility energy management program that accounts for energy and water consumed at all installations has made it a leader in the Department of Defense. The Air Force reduced energy intensity 21.2 percent (goal: 21 percent); reduced potable water intensity 18.1 percent (goal: 10 percent), reduced non-potable industrial, landscaping and agricultural water consumption 4.6 percent (goal: 4 percent); and renewable electricity accounted for 5.5 percent of the total electricity consumed (goal: 5 percent).
2. Energy Savings Performance Contract program revived: In July, several years of hard work paid off with the award of an Energy Savings Performance Contract at Tinker AFB, Okla. The complicated, $91 million ESPC uses third-party funding to decentralize three central boiler plants, replacing them with smaller, more efficient boilers in 70 buildings. When complete, this project is expected to save enough energy to power 12,242 homes annually. Utility and operation and maintenance savings over the next 20 years will be used to repay the project costs. The Air Force also held an ESPC industry day and subsequent rapid improvement event to streamline the ESPC process to 12 months. It previously took three to four years. Several key improvements to the acquisition process were also identified and will be incorporated into revised guidance for Air Force civil engineers.
3. 14.5 megawatt renewable solar array awarded: In August, AFCEC helped secure an agreement with SunEdison, LLC to design, finance, build, operate and maintain a 14.5 megawatt photovoltaic array on 170 acres of land at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz. The power purchase agreement provides electricity to Davis-Monthan at a reduced rate for 25 years saving the base approximately $500,000 a year in utility costs. The project will provide 35 percent of the energy needed to power the base. It will be slightly larger than the Nellis AFB, Nev., photovoltaic solar array built in 2007.
4. Advanced meter reading system awarded: Eighty Air Force bases will receive advanced meter reading systems over the next two years. AFCEC oversaw the award of a $33 million contract to provide the standardized solution for reporting electricity, water, steam and natural gas consumption. AMRS has the potential to save the Air Force up to $25 million a year in utility costs, and will provide base-level energy staffs the information needed to ensure buildings are operating as efficiently as possible.
5. Sustainable Infrastructure Assessments implemented: The Air Force bundled several building assessments into SIAs. AFCEC awarded a contract to complete energy audits and real property inventory, equipment, condition, high performance sustainable building, and space utilization assessments at 63 installations. The data collected will be used to support decision making, financial management and future reporting requirements for capital investments and audits.
6. OSD approved Air Force re-baseline request: AFCEC collected data, submitted a baseline revision for the Air Force 2003 energy baseline, and gained approval from OSD. It is a significant accomplishment because the congressionally mandated energy intensity goal of 3 percent reduction each year with a total reduction of 30 percent by 2015, is based on the 2003 'baseline year.' In 2003, energy was just beginning to be a major focus for the military and as a result, there wasn't clear guidance on collected energy intensity data. The guidelines in place were vague and subject to different interpretations. Now every base is using the same criteria and has resubmitted 2003 data using the improved guidelines and a new reporting system.
"For the first time in a long while, the base is looking at the same information, gathered using the same criteria as the major command, who's looking at the same number as the Air Force, who's looking at the same number as the OSD," said AFCEC Engineer Rick Weston.
7. New renewable energy process developed: The reorganization of the Air Force Real Property Agency, the Air Force Civil Engineer Support Agency and the Air Force Center for Engineering and the Environment into AFCEC highlighted the need for a streamlined renewable energy process. AFCEC hosted an Enhanced Use Lease/Power Purchase Agreement rapid improvement event in San Antonio, Texas, to create a single process for EULs and PPAs called the renewable energy process. Participants agreed on standardized terms and a single set of phases and milestones.
"We're working to meet the mandates," said Ken Gray, AFCEC Energy Directorate Rates and Renewables Division chief. "We get a two to one return on what we invest in energy. For every dollar the Air Force spends on an energy-focused reduction effort, it gets $2 back to invest in the mission."
8. One Gigawatt Renewable Energy Plan developed: The Air Force, along with the Army and Navy, plan to develop over one gigawatt or 1,000 megawatts of renewable energy on Air Force installations by 2016. This ambitious goal will exceed all legislated mandates of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and 10 United States Code 2911.
9. Net Zero Implementation Plan developed: The Air Force developed a draft Net Zero Implementation Plan to leverage, coordinate with and integrate efforts already underway throughout the Air Force. The draft plan takes into account how the Air Force currently managers and works to reduce energy use, water use and waste generation, and suggests ways to reach a net zero status.
10. Utility Rate Management Team saved millions of dollars: AFCEC's utility rate management team completed reviews of utility contract acquisitions at 19 installations and identified potential savings of more than $11 million. The URMT also supported rate negotiations and interventions in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Nevada, Texas and Utah, preventing $3.4 million in utility bill increases.
2/14/2013 11:02:49 AM ET ...Added to that is the increasing age of military facilities that drives different historical preservation requirements in every state. The only true way to meet these desired end-states is an increased investment portfolio that does not always have to be economical as security never is fueled by increased funding and freed from burdensome regulation. To meet the goals that the AF has already met is truly an astounding feet especially with the ever decreasing budget. It truly is a testament to the skills and expertise of professionals in the DoD and their strong partnerships in the civilian sector.
2/14/2013 11:00:55 AM ET Great points on solar power. In the ideal end state we would have bases running primarily off renewable sources of energy with other renewables offering securable back-up generation capabilities for 30 days Net-Zero and fully Islanded bases. However technology and funding is what is stopping us. The US is far behind the Chinese in solar development and tax incentives are not enough to push the technology in the civilian market to a level that the DoD requires for viability. The DoD cannot receive renewable tax incentives on projects using Appropriated funding. This makes the savings to investment payoff longer than the expected lifespan of the equipment. They rely on commercial capital investment for these projects as tax incentives can be realized with commercial financing. However this only works if it makes good business sense to the Energy Provider and areas with cheaper utilities find it difficult to generate that level of corporate interest. If the DoD really wants to be
2/13/2013 11:43:43 AM ET As we continue to look at energy efficiency and new technology I am amazed that the thermal envelope of structures is many times looked at last. I see we have sprayed closed cell spray foam on tents in the AOR and have cut heat loads almost in half. Just a thought.
MSgt Keane, Virginia Beach VA
2/12/2013 8:54:33 AM ET Aaron. Conversion costs will be high and not economical to enact until the alternative source of energy is cheaper or at least on par with current fossil fuels. What you and many environmentalists are requesting is that we build a completely new infrastructure across the nation that caters to the new fuels. Your example of using electric cars is a wonderful example of where fuel efficiencies may be realized but at an exorbitant cost in building the infrastructure. What is missing in the equation is that the new structures will need electricity to charge the batteries and the current solution to providing the energy is still fossil fuel based. So all we are doing is shifting fossil fuel consumption from petroleum powered vehicles to petroleum based power plants. Every parking space in the nation would need an electrical outlet to plug in your vehicle. OK that may be a bit exaggerated but you get the point. With the economy in its current state its not a very viable solution to
SNCO Ret, Scott
2/9/2013 4:09:51 PM ET The conversion costs are always going to be high. With a break-even so far down the road reinvestmentrepairs at times will come in prior to the savings to be reaped. New builds should be the focus where structures are concerned. Many regular business models have followed suit. Where Vehicle Operations are concerned for stateside and local use where are the electric cars If the price is the same which is paid by tax-payers why would we not go green in this area
2/7/2013 10:55:47 AM ET Agree with realistic. The cost to operate green energy is still about double the cost. For example to retro fit solar panels in the SW for a residential unit is about 25K That's 5 per DC watt-before incentives vs. 2.50 for traditional utility. Until this gap closes to make them competitive it doesn't make much sense to convert to solar.
SNCO Ret, Scott
2/7/2013 3:02:40 AM ET @Brian. Those statistics are omitted because it would prove that most green energy projects cost more than they save and the potential savings are not realized for decades if ever. I'm not totally against these projects I just want to see the technology mature enough so that savings are real and not a faade. The one thing you will never see mentioned is the government subsidies for these projects which is the only thing that makes many of them profitable. As such the American taxpayer is footing the bill for many unproven technologies.
2/6/2013 2:24:31 PM ET Every structure with a flat surface should have a solar panel on it. Even at McChord the new generation of panels would produce power on a cloudy day. All DoD facilities south of 45th parallel should be outfitted with solar panels or spiral wind turbines. Enough already with using public power.
Greg Gaunt, SoWest AFB USA
2/5/2013 5:35:41 PM ET I would like to see what was spent on these projects and what the actual savings are not potential savings.