SecAF shares AF, DoD energy goals at summit
by Tech. Sgt. Shad Eidson
99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
8/15/2012 - LAS VEGAS, Nev. (AFNS) -- Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley presented a keynote address on the Department of Defense's energy initiatives at the 2012 National Clean Energy Summit here August 7.
The fifth annual summit gathered leaders from government, business, non-profit organizations and academia to discuss the transformation of the nation's energy infrastructure and economy. Each year, the collaboration helps influence the development of new national energy policies and efforts toward building a cleaner energy economy.
"When we ask our service members to step, sail or fly into harm's way, we have a duty to provide the tools and the resources they need for successful operations," said Donley, who represented the Air Force and DOD. "Having assured access to reliable supplies of energy, and the ability to protect and deliver sufficient energy to meet mission essential requirements, is critical."
Donley's speech addressed several factors affecting all services' energy goals, including the need to deploy clean energy at bases and installations worldwide, efforts to decrease petroleum consumption, and initiatives to enhance national security through energy diversity, better energy efficiency, and cleaner alternative fuels.
"Energy is a critical part of everything we do in the Air Force and across DOD," Donley said. Reducing energy demand and increasing energy supply sources are vital areas as the department looks to identify efficiencies and expand capabilities, he added.
DOD is the single largest consumer of energy in the nation and the Air Force consumes more energy than any other service. DOD energy costs in fiscal year 2011 totaled $20 billion, Donley said. The Air Force spent $9.7 billion on fuel, an amount equal to more than eight percent of the service's total budget.
"No matter how you count it, that is a significant amount, particularly when overall budgets are declining and energy costs are trending upward," Donley said. "Every dollar we don't spend on energy would allow us to invest that dollar into enhancing a high quality and ready force."
As the largest consumer of energy in the federal government, the Air Force recognizes the vulnerability and volatility risks of dependence on energy supply, he said. To that end, the Air Force is fully committed to three energy strategy principles: reduce demand, increase supply, and foster a more energy-aware culture.
"Reducing demand is the single best action the Air Force can take to enhance resiliency, primarily by developing more efficient aircraft and designing energy-smarter buildings," Donley said. "Exciting things are happening in these areas.
"Our innovative Airmen are changing the way we manage energy," the secretary said. "They have made us more energy secure and enhanced our capabilities."
Airmen have proven themselves to be key players in achieving Air Force energy objectives through innovation and identifying new policies, new processes and technologies to improve energy efficiencies, Donley said.
Last year, six percent of Air Force energy consumption was from renewable sources, surpassing federal goals, the secretary said. The Air Force is posturing to increase this goal to 25 percent by 2025 through the more than 180 renewable projects ongoing or under construction today.
"The Air Force is known for its innovation," Donley said. "We were born of new technologies."
One such project is at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., where a 140-acre solar array generates 14 megawatts of power, saving nearly $1 million a year, the secretary said. Another is at Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., which is scheduled to become the first federal facility to replace 100 percent of its general purpose vehicles with plug-in electric models.
Other initiatives will allow the Air Force to save $325 million over the next five years as a result of aviation fuel efficiencies, Donley said. The Air Force has fully certified its entire aircraft inventory, more than 5,000 aircraft, to use a synthetic fuel blend, the secretary said. By 2013, the Air Force plans to certify the fleet to fly on at least one bio-fuel blend.
However, no single entity can solve their energy challenges alone, Donley said. The Departments of the Air Force, Army and Navy are actively collaborating with private industry and other government agencies to ensure the best use of energy and fuel investments.
"DOD needs partners from the private sector to reach our energy goals," Donley said. "Effective partnerships and teamwork will help us achieve our energy priorities."
Energy is a necessity for all missions and operations impacting DOD operations on land, at sea, in the air, in space and in cyberspace, he said.
"Together we are building resiliency into the full range of our mission activities and enhancing energy security by assuring supplies and reducing dependence on expensive or vulnerable sources of energy," Donley said. "By improving the way DoD uses energy, we can create a more agile, lethal, adaptable and effective military force."
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