Army Looks To Private Sector On Renewables

Facing rising fuel prices and energy security challenges, the U.S. Army has committed to meeting a quarter of its energy needs with renewable resources by 2025, and to achieving net zero energy use by 2030. The Army has already taken on several renewable-energy and energy-efficiency projects, but its leadership recognizes they lack the expertise and resources to execute large-scale projects without participation from the private sector. That’s where the recently announced Energy Initiatives Office (EIO) Task Force comes into the picture.

The Army said the EIO represents an important step toward filling the expertise gap between the military – whose primary function, after all is to wage war – and renewable-energy developers. The EIO Task Force is part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment, and will serve as the central managing office for the development of large-scale renewable-energy projects.

Army Solar Tents

image via U.S. Army

The motivation behind the embrace of renewables? It’s simple: “Addressing our energy security needs is operationally necessary, fiscally prudent and vital to mission accomplishment,” said John M. McHugh, Secretary of the Army.

Accomplishing its energy mission will require the Army to generate 2.1 million megawatt hours of renewable energy annually – a target expected to cost $7.1 billion dollars over the next 10 years to reach. In order to ensure that resources are allocated appropriately, the EIO Task Force will focus on streamlining the Army’s acquisition process, as well as pursuing strategic and financial collaboration with the private sector through an aggressive outreach effort. The EIO Task Force will be fully operational by mid-September.

Lauren Craig is a writer and consultant living in Seattle, WA. She holds an M.S. in International Development from Tulane University, and is co-founder of Sustainable Systems Integrators, LLC., an employee-owned solar energy design and installation firm in New Orleans, LA. She is also certified in PV design and installation by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).