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Keeping Our Sights on Target: A Strategic Vision for Energy Security

By John Kliem
P.E., CEM, Executive Director of the Resilient Energy Program Office

The Navy was challenged in 2017 to navigate changing seas of reduced resources. We faced evolving threats from potential enemies, new and old, and were required to keep pace with our adversaries’ technological advances while continuing to ensure the Department of the Navy maintained warfighting superiority with an aging shore infrastructure. As the executive director of the Naval Facility Engineering Command’s Resilient Energy Program Office (NAVFAC REPO), I can confidently say installation energy security is a key contributor to these efforts, and we adjusted our course to ensure we remained aligned with the DON mission for enabling combat-ready naval forces.

Earlier this year, Steve Iselin, principal deputy assistant Secretary of the Navy (Energy, Installations and Environment), in his acting capacity as the assistant secretary of the Navy (EI&E), issued the Department of the Navy Energy Security Framework, which defined the “Three Pillars of Energy Security” as resiliency (capability to recover from utility failures), reliability (capability to resist utility failures) and efficiency (capability to reduce demand and cost for utilities). NAVFAC is assisting Commander, Naval Installations Command and Marine Corps Installations Command (CNIC) in using the Energy Security Framework to assess installation performance against established standards and to prioritize DON resources to address highest mission priority energy security deficiencies at installations.

A 134 kW photovoltaic array at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam, Hawaii, is part of a renewable energy microgrid project demonstrating new ways for military facilities to address energy needs, Feb. 21, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo courtesy of HNU Energy/Released)
A 134 kW photovoltaic array at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam, Hawaii, is part of a renewable energy microgrid project demonstrating new ways for military facilities to address energy needs, Feb. 21, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo courtesy of HNU Energy/Released)

 

At NAVFAC REPO, we are taking several steps to implement the guidance set forth in the Energy Security Framework and working with our installations to realize its vision. In response to the framework, NAVFAC set clear installation-level performance standards for energy resilience, reliability and efficiency. The Energy Security Assessment Tool (ESAT) was created by a working group made up/consisting of ASN (EI&E), CNIC, Marine Corps Installations Command, NAVFAC and other installations subject matter experts to measure their performance relative to established standards. Using this initial assessment, these groups are using the ESAT to evaluate energy security gaps. Finally, an Energy Mission Integration Group is also being formed to direct investment to the DON’s highest priorities with a focus on maximizing use of third-party resources to secure the most infrastructure upgrades possible with limited appropriated dollars.

Representatives of the State of Arizona, City of Yuma, Arizona Public Service, and Marine Corps leaders celebrate the Marine Corps Air Station Yuma microgrid during a ribbon cutting ceremony at MCAS Yuma, Ariz., Dec 15, 2016. The microgrid project is a partnership between APS and MCAS Yuma to provide enough backup power to cover 100 percent of current and projected base energy requirements, which far exceeds and may replace current backup capabilities. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Summer Romero/Released)
Representatives of the State of Arizona, City of Yuma, Arizona Public Service, and Marine Corps leaders celebrate the Marine Corps Air Station Yuma microgrid during a ribbon cutting ceremony at MCAS Yuma, Ariz., Dec 15, 2016. The microgrid project is a partnership between APS and MCAS Yuma to provide enough backup power to cover 100 percent of current and projected base energy requirements, which far exceeds and may replace current backup capabilities. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Summer Romero/Released)

 

NAVFAC has already utilized third-party financing contracts to dramatically reduce shore energy consumption while providing infrastructure upgrades. From 2012 through 2016, NAVFAC awarded more than $654 million in third-party financed energy projects that will provide facility and utility system upgrades. Once fully constructed, these upgrades will save DON 2.3 trillion BTUs of energy and 243 million gallons of water annually. Further, NAVFAC is focused on a new pipeline of work which includes executing approximately 700 megawatts of distributed energy generation projects to improve the energy security posture at 26 installations through third-party financed Enhanced Use Leases. The program is intended to harness the power of private-sector funds to advance resilient infrastructure goals resulting in more than $1.3 billion of privately-funded generation and microgrid assets.

We will continue to use our experience in third-party finance and performance contracting to avoid upfront spending of appropriated funds. We look forward to continuing to pursue the horizon of energy security with additional opportunities we have identified which will provide reliable, resilient, efficient and secure energy systems to meet supported command mission requirements. With the experience gained and guidance provided by leadership, we have set a steady course to energy security for 2018.

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