EDITOR'S NOTE: John Kliem helps steer the renewables energy efforts of the Navy, which is in the vanguard of the government's innovative energy policy efforts. He will keynote The California Renewables Rush conference in San Francisco on April 6. He wrote the following essay at the request of the Energy Times and hopes to meet many of its readers at the event.
Energy is critical to everything the military does, which is why having secure and reliable power and utilizing cutting-edge technologies are of critical importance to the Department of the Navy.
In May 2014, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus challenged the shore leadership to bring one gigawatt of renewable energy into procurement by the end of 2015. To achieve this, the Renewable Energy Program Office was founded, with a laser-focus to identify cost-effective renewable energy projects for Navy installations.
With roughly 1.1 gigawatts of renewable energy in procurement, the Navy has both met and surpassed its goal. Along the way, the Navy has executed the largest purchase of renewable energy by a federal entity in history, a monumental achievement that will generate at least $90 million dollars in cost-savings over 25 years.
This and other renewable energy projects will greatly enhance the Navy's energy security by diversifying its energy portfolio.
With this success, the Navy is now building on partnerships with utilities and the private sector to seek new energy resiliency projects.
At bases in the Southwest and Northeast, it is actively reviewing opportunities to leverage third-party financing to integrate storage technology on base to provide value to the grid and the Navy in disaster scenarios.
As the U.S. electric grid and the needs of energy customers like the Navy evolve, the Navy sees an opportunity to collaborate with utilities to make the grid better for the DON and surrounding communities.
The 1.1 gigawatts of renewable energy projects are projected to save millions of dollars in utility bills through long-term, fixed-price contracts, as well as millions of dollars’ worth of energy security infrastructure for its installations. And—these achievements were all executed with third-party financing. These collaborations present a “win-win-win” opportunity.
They are a win for the Navy, a win for the utility partners, and a win for surrounding communities. The Navy will continue investing in renewable energy and new energy technology to increase its operational capability and better support its war-fighting missions with the help of utility partners.
John Kliem, is deputy director of the Renewable Energy Program, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy.