(AFNS) â€” The Air Force is on target to generate 1 gigawatt of renewable energy by 2016, and expects to have enough renewable energy to supply 25 percent of all installation electricity use by 2025, according to Air Force officials.
The announcement supports the Department of Defenseâ€™s plans to roll out new clean- and renewable-energy initiatives as part of its long-term â€œOperational Energy Strategyâ€ aimed at reducing the militaryâ€™s dependence on fossil fuels while increasing its front-line fighting power.
â€œTo successfully achieve the Air Force mission to fly, fight, and win in air, space, and cyberspace, the Air Force must have assured access to reliable supplies of energy, such as renewable energy, when and where we need it in support of the mission,â€ Dr. Kevin T. Geiss, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Energy.
The White House on Wednesday announced new steps to bolster energy security for Americaâ€™s warfighters – underscoring the significant and inherent connection between energy independence and national security.
â€œThe Air Force is a significant part of our nationâ€™s strategy to establish greater energy security and become more energy efficient through conservation and use of alternative and renewable energy sources,â€ Geiss said.
The Air Force plans to maximize on partnerships with private sector and government entities to develop and test alternative and renewable energy sources to meeting specifications for operational use with limited or no upfront costs to the government.
The solar project at Nellis Air Force Base, Geiss said, is a good example of the Air Forceâ€™s creative approach to public-private partnership and can make its energy supply more sustainable, secure and affordable. The Nellis solar array, which spans over 140 acres and is the largest solar photovoltaic system in North America, generates 14 Mega-Watts (MW) of renewable energy and saves the base about $1M a year.
The Air Force is the second biggest user of renewable energy in the federal government. In fiscal year 2011, six percent of the Air Forceâ€™s total facility energy came from renewables. The 131 wind, solar, ground source thermal and landfill gas projects underway at 56 Air Force installations are expected to generate 37 MW of renewable energy. Another 50 projects, either under construction or soon-to-be awarded, are expected to generate an additional 19 MW of renewable energy.
Over the next three years, the Air Force has 21 more renewable power-purchase projects planned with 148 MW capacity expected.