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Air Force’s Reliance on Renewables Expected to Climb

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  • February 12, 2012
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The Air Force, which has been one of the nation’s top purchasers of renewable energy in recent years, has adopted a strategy which could put it on a course to acquire as much as 27 percent of its electric demand from clean sources by fiscal 2016.

Currently, more than 6 percent of facility energy used by the service comes from renewable sources, which exceeds the federally mandated energy goal of 5 percent by 2010 included in the 2005 Environmental Protection Act. In 2011, for example, the Air Force used 265 million kilowatt-hours of renewable energy, an increase of 15 million kilowatt-hours from the previous year.

The service plans to add 33 renewable energy projects at its installations during the next five years, reported the Air Force Civil Engineer Support Agency.

“The plan would provide as much as 27 percent of the total Air Force electric demand in the form of renewable energy and far exceed the federal mandate of 16 percent renewable energy use by fiscal year 2016,” said Ken Gray, chief of the rates and renewables branch at the Air Force Facility Energy Center at Tyndall AFB, Fla.

The Air Force has doubled its number of renewable energy projects in the past year. There are 131 projects operating on 56 installations, with an additional 50 under construction. Projects include solar photovoltaic, solar thermal, geothermal in the form of ground source heat pumps, wind, daylighting and landfill gas. The Air Force is also exploring use of waste-to-energy at more than 20 bases identified as ideal locations.

Last month, the Environmental Protection Agency released its Green Power Partnership rankings, which placed the service’s use of green power at number one in DOD, number two in the federal government, and number 15 among 1,300 national organizations, including large corporations and municipalities.

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