The Defense Department should pursue a range of actions to enhance its installations’ energy security and efficiency, including investing in renewable energy, microgrids and smart technology, according to the report accompanying the fiscal 2019 military construction and Veterans Affairs spending bill the House Appropriations Committee approved earlier this month. Those types of projects would help shield mission-critical operations from disruptions to the power grid while saving money, the lawmakers stated. They praised installations in Hawaii for leading the way in increasing energy security and efficiency through efforts to develop net-zero energy facilities, demonstrating microgrid technology, and upgrading systems to improve energy and water efficiency.
The committee pointed to a January 2017 study commissioned by the Pew Charitable Trusts that concluded DOD could save hundreds of millions of dollars annually by investing in microgrids and renewables. The study found that microgrid power systems are more reliable than the stand-alone diesel generators typically used for backup power and could save from $8 million to $20 million over a 20-year period. It also found that DOD could save up to $1 billion a year simply by increasing the use of commercially available energy efficiency measures in its facilities, according to the report.
Photo by Steve Kohls