Army’s Renewable Spending Not Cutting into Readiness, Energy Official Says
At a Capitol Hill forum last week, the Army’s senior energy official rejected the perception that the service’s investments in renewable energy are coming at the expense of training and readiness for its combat forces.
“We have a utility bill of $35 billion over the next 25 years. The way we’re paying for our renewable projects is to take a portion of that bill, bringing some of that bill forward today to pay for some capital investments and paying it back over time,” Richard Kidd, deputy assistant secretary for energy and sustainability, said Thursday.
“All of our renewable projects are at or below what we’re buying from the electric grid. It’s going to save the Army hundreds of millions of dollars over the life of these projects, so the notion that we’re sacrificing readiness for renewable is absolutely wrong,” Kidd said, reported Federal News Radio.
Officials are focusing on renewable projects that provide an energy source that is more secure than the civilian power grid and deliver power at a rate no higher than the local utility currently charges, he stressed.
Kidd also shot down a belief maintained by some in the private sector that DOD is investing vast sums of money to advance the development of renewable energy technologies.
“There’s a proposition around energy that’s often heard in this town that the military is going to drive a huge technological change and wind up with new products like Kevlar. We are not going to drive technology change in the renewable energy space or the energy management space unless it furthers our mission,” Kidd said.
“The Army is not a venture capital site for new technology, unless it contributes to our mission,” he said.
On the other hand, the Army was ready and willing to install microgrid technology developed by the private sector at every installation and forward operating base in Afghanistan.