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Air Force announces energy consumption achievements, new energy strategic plan

Posted 3/22/2013   Updated 3/22/2013 Email story   Print story

    

3/22/2013 - WASHINGTON (AFNS)  -- From aviation operations to installations and ground vehicles within the homeland and abroad, energy is essential for Air Force operations and key to the United States' national and economic security.

"The Air Force is fundamentally a global force that the nation relies on for Global Vigilance, for Global Reach, and for Global Power; we have to be ready to project American influence anywhere in the world on a moment's notice," said Dr. Jamie Morin, acting under secretary of the Air Force, during a media roundtable in the Pentagon with Dr. Kevin Geiss, deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for energy. "Having those capabilities and using those capabilities requires energy - it requires a lot of electricity and even more so it requires a lot of gas."

The roundtable, held March 21, focused on highlighting recent Air Force energy consumption achievements, as well as current initiatives under the new Air Force Energy Strategic Plan.

It should come as no surprise that the Air Force is the largest single consumer of energy in the federal government. In fiscal year 2012, the Air Force spent more than $9 billion for energy, with over 85 percent of those energy costs dedicated to aviation fuel. This amounts to eight percent of the Air Force overall budget.

"That of course means that even moderate improvements in our conservation, in our efficiency, can drive very large dollar savings that can enable us to invest in other vitally needed capabilities," Morin said.

While this number seems daunting, the Air Force is on track to reduce energy consumption and has already taken significant actions that have helped to avoid $1.5 billion in energy bills last year when compared to the baseline years for its facility and aviation energy reduction goals.

Much of this can be attributed to achievements in reducing aviation fuel consumption. In 2006, the Air Force set a goal of reducing aviation fuel consumption 10 percent by 2015.

"We have exceeded that goal three years ahead of schedule and we've done so through the combination of activities - a combination of investments, policy initiatives, and, in total - what we've been able to do is reduce our total consumption by more than 12 percent," Morin said.

But it's not just about goals for reducing fuel consumption; the service has also reduced facility energy intensity by more than 21 percent since 2003 and increased its use of renewable energy.

The Air Force is also on track to meet goals of reducing energy intensity by a total of 37.5 percent by 2020, and the long-term goal of increasing the amount of renewable energy use to 25 percent of renewable energy consumption by 2025. Last year 5.5 percent of the Air Force's electricity came from renewable energy sources.

"These are fundamentally important accomplishments for the nation," said Morin. "Every taxpayer dollar we can save on energy is absolutely going to help us transform resources into increased Air Force readiness, increased combat capability for the joint force."

Understanding that the number of missions the service flies each year is partially outside its control, Morin said the Air Force is shifting its energy goals.

"We may not always be able to control exactly how much we fly, but we can control substantially how much fuel we use for each amount of flying we do - and that is at the heart of the updated energy strategic plan that we're releasing," he said. The plan "shifts our lens and our metric of how we look at energy from simply consumption to overall operational efficiency."

This shift is also reflected in the Air Force's new energy vision to "sustain an assured energy advantage across air, space, and cyberspace."

"We need to, and are focusing on the capability we get out of energy each gallon, each watt of electricity," Morin said. "We are changing the way we operate."

The new energy strategic plan lays out four priorities: improve resiliency, reduce demand, assure supply, and foster an energy aware culture. To support these priorities, the Air Force is making changes to flying operations to use less fuel, working with private industry on renewable energy facilities, and driving energy awareness at all levels of professional development and technical training, among many other activities.

"The robust, resilient, and ready energy posture that we're working to develop is about enabling the Air Force to be operationally effective; it's about enhancing national security; it's about getting better value out of every taxpayer dollar," Morin said. "We are not, and will not, accept the notion that one has to choose between energy efficiency and mission accomplishment. What I think we've demonstrated over the last several years, and will continue to demonstrate, is that those can be complimentary and mutually reinforcing goals."

To view the entire "U.S. Air Force Energy Strategic Plan," go to the Air Force Energy website at http://www.safie.hq.af.mil/energy/index.asp.



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