WASHINGTON — The Air Force introduced a new Energy Flight Plan, signed by Miranda Ballentine, the assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment and energy, on Jan. 6.
Following the direction established by the Air Force 30 Year Strategy and the Strategic Master Plan, the Energy Flight Plan identified a long-term vision for the Air Force to enhance mission assurance through energy assurance.
“This plan, along with our recent policies, codifies the importance energy resiliency has to the Air Force mission and identifies how we are going to move forward,” Ballentine said. “We need to take a holistic approach to energy projects to provide resilient, cost-effective, cleaner energy solutions to ensure we can continue to operate when our energy supplies are interrupted.”
Throughout the last year, the Air Force continued to improve how it manages energy by advancing new approaches and developing new projects.
In February 2016, the Air Force stood up the Office of Energy Assurance to take an enterprise-wide approach to facilitate energy projects that provide resilient, cost-effective, cleaner power to Air Force installations. It also established the Resilient Energy Demonstration Initiative to develop and deploy innovative energy resilience technologies and business models that could later be used across the Air Force.
The Air Force then unveiled a 19-megawatt solar array at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada; broke ground on a 16.5-megawatt solar array at Joint-Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey; and signed a cooperative research and development agreement with EDF-Renewable to demonstrate an operational microgrid.
Recently, the Air Force announced a $262 million energy savings performance contract, ESPC, for the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex, at Tinker AFB, Oklahoma. This contract – the largest performance contract in federal government history – will modernize 50 buildings and help reduce energy usage at the complex by 35 percent.
The Air Force exceeded its commitment toward the $4 billion Presidential Performance Contracting Challenge goal with this project. Under the challenge, each federal agency was charged with optimizing its energy footprint through the use of third-party performance contracts.
The government develops performance contracts enabling partnership with the private sector to develop and maintain energy projects, without upfront costs to the taxpayers. The government then uses the cost-savings garnered by the improvements to pay the company back, resulting in modernized infrastructure and increased energy efficiency at no net cost to taxpayers
The Air Force is largely dependent on the commercial energy infrastructure for its electricity and fuel. The plan affirms three goals for the Air Force energy program – improve resiliency, optimize demand, and assure supply – and establishes a framework to make the best use of its energy resources.
“We are facing a changing threat environment to our energy systems, as cyber and physical threats to our energy systems continue to rise,” Ballentine said. “It is important we have a comprehensive approach to our energy projects to ensure we have the technologies, processes, and resources in place so we can continue our mission in the event of an outage.”
To view the entire “U.S. Air Force Energy Flight Plan,” go to the Air Force Energy website.