The Army is looking to its Net Zero program as a key way for the service to meet its broad goals of trimming energy consumption while increasing its reliance on alternative sources of energy, senior officials said Tuesday at the 2011 Association of the U.S. Army Annual Meeting.
A net zero installation is one that produces as much as it uses for a particular resource, such as energy, over the course of a year. Fort Bliss — one of two pilot sites trying to attain net zero consumption in all three categories — already has shown that significant gains in energy conservation are possible.
Bliss officials have committed the post to producing more energy than it consumes by December 2015, and meeting the net zero goals for water usage and waste by December 2018, Maj. Gen. Dana Pittard, commanding general of the Texas post and 1st Armored Division, told attendees. Bliss’ population is slated to reach 33,000 soldiers by 2014. In April, the Army announced the 17 pilot installations that would participate in the net zero program.
The Army will continue to count on the private sector for investment in energy projects to reach its goals for the development of alternative energy sources and to meet its net zero objectives. In August, Army Secretary John McHugh announced the establishment of the Energy Initiatives Task Force as a one-stop shop for collaborating with industry. The task force will leverage the resources of the private sector to focus on on-site, large-scale renewable energy generation that will improve energy security.
Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary for installations, energy and environment, emphasized the benefits of reducing energy consumption and investing in alternative energies. The effort is operationally necessary, fiscally prudent and mission essential for the Army, she said.