During the GovEnergy Conference in Ohio this week, Secretary of the US Army, John McHugh, revealed the creation of the Energy Initiatives Office Task Force, (EIO) as part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment. EIO will oversee the development of large-scale Army renewable energy projects and is anticipated to be in full operation by September 15.
The US Army is looking to reach its goal of 25% renewable energy by 2025, but needs an estimated investment of nearly US$7.1 billion over the next 10 years to reach the 2.1 million MWh of power the energy initiative is expected to produce. Working with ranks inside the US Army, the EIO aims to streamline existing acquisition processes and influence the industry for the development of large-scale renewable and alternative energy projects on Army installations.
“The Energy Initiatives Office Task Force will help the Army build resilience through renewable energy while streamlining our business practices so developers can invest in and build an economically viable, large-scale renewable energy infrastructure,” said McHugh, “To meet a goal of 25% renewable energy by 2025, the Army must use every opportunity to be energy efficient and draw power from alternative and/or renewable energy sources.”
The Army has had various solar installation completed at several of its sites over the last few years including a 100kW PV array installed by Hypower at Fort Knox and a 2MW ground-mounted installation at the Fort Carson base in Colorado, which was completed by Conergy. However, the Army itself conceded that even as it pursues a renewable energy infrastructure, the needed expertise for the renewable energy installations are not up to par.
In response, the EIO task force plans to work with the private sector in completing large-scale renewable projects in hopes that interest will from developers and financiers will be piqued. The task force is planning to begin an outreach effort that will entice and engage the private industry so that a strategic and financial partnership can be created and thereby strengthen the Army’s installation energy needs.