Ballentine to Brief Summit, Air Force Communities

The Air Force’s installations and energy chief will discuss the service’s most pressing issues, including constraints on funding for installation support and its high level of excess capacity, during a briefing at the National Summit next month in Washington.

In recent testimony on Capitol Hill, Miranda A. A. Ballentine, who has served as the Air Force’s assistant secretary for installations, environment and energy since last September, told lawmakers that the service is grappling with a surplus of installations estimated at 30 percent and a portfolio of real property that is prohibitively expensive to maintain.

“If you combine excess infrastructure capacity with aging buildings, the bottom line is that our facilities and installations are simply too expensive,” she told the House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee in March.

Other priorities for the service include the Air Force Community Partnership Program, its initiative to implement the new authority allowing installations to enter into intergovernmental support agreements with local governments to provide, receive or share support services for most municipal functions. Efforts currently are under way at almost 50 installations to identify opportunities for community-military partnerships and negotiate agreements to carry out new partnerships.

At the same time, the service is pushing forward to meet its goal to produce 1 gigawatt of renewable energy at its installations, a target it plans to meet by 2020. In March, the Air Force broke ground on a 19-megawatt solar array at Nellis AFB, the second industrial-scale array at the Las Vegas-area base. When it is completed later this year, the project will be DOD’s largest photovoltaic system.

The Air Force’s largest operational solar array, located at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, Ariz., has surpassed officials’ expectations since it was completed in late 2013. The 16.4-megawatt array is providing more than 40 percent of the installation’s total power needs and saving the service $500,000 annually.  

Following Ballentine’s briefing, she will meet with active and closed Air Force communities at the Summit. Community representatives will receive invitations to this session from ADC. If you do not receive an invitation, contact Matt Borron at mborron@defensecommunities.org.

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