Green IT

Pilot sites mark progress on Net Zero energy projects

The Army is gaining ground on its goal of going fossil fuel-free at many of its installations, according to the recently released program summary for its Net Zero initiative.

The report—the Net Zero Energy Roadmap and Program Summary—which covers fiscal 2013, breaks down efforts at nine pilot installations in the program to incorporate renewable energy sources along with more efficient usage of power, water and waste generation.

The goal of the Net Zero program is for installations to cut energy use through better efficiency, energy recovery and cogeneration, and to generate all the remaining energy required through renewable sources. The result would mean consuming zero energy from conventional, fossil-fuel sources, while also using less water and producing less waste.

The summary details progress at each installation through fiscal 2013, based on army Corps of engineers audits, of reductions in energy use, the percentage of energy coming from renewable sources, and estimated savings in energy use and dollars.

If the nine pilot installations get to net zero, renewable energy will account for 8 percent of the Army’s total installation energy use, or about 6 trillion BTUs, according to the summary. Ultimately, the Army wants renewable energy to account for 25 percent of its overall use by 2025, which would eliminate about 20 trillion BTUs of fossil-fuel sources and save about $300 million a year.

Of the pilot installations, six are focusing strictly on energy use at the installations: Camp Parks Reserve Forces Training Area, Calif.; Fort Detrick, Md.; Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif.; Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands; Sierra Army Depot, Calif.; and West Point, N.Y. Three others are branching out: the Oregon Army National Guard is piloting a net zero energy initiative covering of its installations statewide, and Fort Bliss, Texas, and Fort Carson, Colo., are piloting programs that cover energy, water and waste.

The nine installations in the pilot program aren’t the only ones turning toward renewable energy. Fort Buchanan in Puerto Rico, for instance, is using solar arrays and wind turbines to generate a lot of its power, Fort Huachuca, Ariz., is building the Army’s largest solar array, and projects are underway elsewhere.

The Army’s Net Zero energy program, which was launched in 2010, builds on earlier work by the Energy Department's Federal Energy Management Program. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Army Corps of Engineers are assisting the Army in identifying suitable locations and renewable technologies.

About the Author

Kevin McCaney is a former editor of Defense Systems and GCN.

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