Each October, the Department of the Air Force celebrates Energy Action Month to highlight the critical role energy plays in mission assurance. Embracing the Department’s three-year theme of “Powering Possibility,” the installation energy program is pursuing a series of pilot initiatives that showcase the department’s forward-looking approach to energy innovation and powering the future force in the face of growing operational threats.
“We must equip our installations with a full range of resilient and modernized energy solutions to remain competitive and secure in an evolving geopolitical and environmental climate” explained Nancy Balkus, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Environment, Safety, and Infrastructure. “That’s why we are investing in a series of transformational technologies like nuclear and geothermal and electrifying our non-tactical vehicle fleets. Our pilot initiatives will help diversify our energy supply while mitigating our impact on the environment.”
The Department of the Air Force has 337 active renewable energy projects across 115 sites, spanning solar, wind, biomass, and ground source heat pump efforts. Additionally, the Department is progressing a nuclear micro-reactor pilot at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, and is working with the Defense Innovation Unit to leverage enhanced geothermal technology to meet installation electricity needs at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, and Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho.
Leveraging its scale and procurement power, the Department of the Air Force is also participating in a Department of Defense-wide initiative with utility providers to accelerate the deployment of clean energy and decrease greenhouse gas emissions.
Specifically, the department is supporting initiatives to bring carbon pollution-free electricity to bases in the Carolinas, Texas, Arkansas, and Colorado. The pilots align with the Department of the Air Force’s Climate Action Plan target of achieving 100% CFE by 2030.
In conjunction with its range of CFE pilot projects, the Department of the Air Force is modernizing installation infrastructure by electrifying buildings, non-tactical vehicles, and flightline equipment. These initiatives will reduce risks to operations, bolster energy resilience, and achieve objectives outlined in the Climate Action Plan by creating energy redundancies, reducing emissions, and domesticating fuel supply for immediate delivery.
The Department of the Air Force’s 75,000 vehicular assets represent thousands of opportunities to increase installation energy resilience, reduce military oil dependency, and decrease operations and maintenance costs while achieving federal emission targets.
To prepare for a fully electric non-tactical vehicle fleet, the Department is conducting a multi-phase fleet electrification pilot program, which now spans 45 installations across the enterprise. Lessons learned are also being coalesced into a comprehensive framework that will provide step-by-step guidance to installations on acquiring charging infrastructure and vehicles.
The Department of the Air Force is also conducting base-level electrification pilots including at Patrick Space Force Base, Florida, and Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina. These pilots will help integrate clean energy modernization in master planning, identify electrical grid impacts from electrifying fleets and building systems, and will inform long-term investment needs.
These pilot programs represent just a few ways – large and small –the Department of the Air Force is working to revolutionize its approach to energy security so it can meet the pacing threat and “Power Possibility” for decades to come.
To help spread awareness of energy initiatives, visit: www.safie.hq.af.mil/EnergyActionMonth/ and follow the hashtag #PowerDAFPossibility at www.facebook.com/AirForceEnergy and www.twitter.com/AFEnergy.