Washington, D.C. — Energy efficiency and conservation projects have taken a back seat to investments aimed at enhancing energy resilience across DOD. “I would suggest we’re in a pivot to resilience,” Jack Surash, acting deputy assistant secretary of the Army for energy and sustainability, told the DOD Energy & Water Forum last week. The Army is still interested in pursuing energy projects intended to save money and reduce consumption, Surash said, but now the service’s top priority is resilience.
The change in philosophy means the service’s energy managers now are focusing on identifying their installations’ critical missions and the energy systems supporting them. Officials are assessing the condition of electrical panels and feeds, transformers and other components, and considering potential backup power sources and means of distribution. “We’re very concerned about risk,” Surash said, noting that wasn’t the case five or six years ago.
One of the first challenges to enhancing an installation’s energy resilience is identifying all of the facilities that support its critical missions. That’s not easy, he said. After officials find those facilities, they can begin to consider investments to address the possibility of a disruption; for example, installing a second feed. One source of funding for projects aimed at enhancing resilience is the rechristened Energy Resilience and Conservation Investment Program; it previously was the Energy Conservation Investment Program.
One new focus for Army energy managers is incorporating requirements to achieve both energy and water resilience in installation master plans. In the past, the energy component of those plans primarily focused on energy efficiency projects, Surash said. Those plans, scheduled to come out at different times over the next three years for all Army installations, also will address cybersecurity requirements, he said.
Photo by Army Spc. Robert Porter