The Army says that it wants to drop about $7.1 billion over the next decade on renewable-energy technologies, in order to try and shave some zeros off of the annual $15 billion it currently spends on oil. In order to help figure out how, Army Secretary John McHugh announced last week the establishment of the Energy Initiatives Office Task Force, which will be focused on “working with the private sector to execute large-scale renewable energy projects,” according to an Army statement. The task force will conduct “an aggressive outreach effort to attract and engage private industry” in the renewable energy effort, the service says. It also says that 5 million of the 15 million acres of land it owns within the U.S. could be used for renewable energy infrastructure.
McHugh’s announcement came shortly after Boeing and Siemens announced a “strategic alliance” for the development of smart-grid technologies to improve energy savings at military installations, as part of industry’s attempt to help the Pentagon reduce its $15 billion-a-year oil habit. Smart grids and microgrids typically consist of multiple generators spread across an entire installation that are connected so they only produce enough energy to meet the demand at any given time, thereby eliminating unnecessary power generation. The Army has pledged to reduce all energy, water and waste usage at 100 installations worldwide to “Net Zero” by 2020 — meaning that it would produce “as much energy on or near the installation as it consumes in its buildings and facilities,” according to Army documents.
The Boeing/Siemens collaboration aims to provide military installations with microgrid solutions that, according to the team, will “implement economical energy-efficiency tools that allow for analysis, control and automation of energy processes,” and “use smart energy controls to provide real-time data to manage energy use.”