Army sets goals for environmental resilience
As Hurricane Ian hits Florida, residents face a choice. Evacuate or risk surviving one of the most powerful storms to hit the state. Among the residents deciding what to do were the U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command, based at McDill Air Force Base in Tampa.
On 26 September, the base ordered the evacuation of all non-mission essential personnel.
Initial reports say McDill escaped serious damage, but just looking at another Florida facility, Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City, confirms the threat catastrophic weather events pose to military installations and operations. Tyndall was hit hard by Hurricane Michael in 2018, destroying or irreparably damaging 484 buildings.
In January 2021, President Joe Biden signed an Executive Order making climate considerations an integral part of the foreign policy and national security of the United States.
Within the Department of Defense, the Army has led efforts to address climate issues. It was the first service to announce its climate strategy in February this year, followed by its implementation plan in October.
The Army’s Climate Strategy outlines long-term goals and the Army’s three major commitments (Establishment, Training, Acquisition, and Logistics), while the Implementation Plan sets out specific climate goals through fiscal year 2027.
If climate strategy is the “what” of the Army’s response to climate change, the implementation plan is the “how,” said Paul Farnan, the Army’s deputy secretary for facilities, energy and the environment.
“We’re laying the groundwork for our long-term goals,” Farnan said at the plan’s launch event at the Institute for Strategic and International Studies.
“What needs to be done now to ensure that the Army and the Pentagon are safe? [are] Are we on the right track to achieve these long-term goals, but are we also actually moving us toward those goals?” he said. “So there are some very real achievements that will be realized over the next five years.”
As for the installation, the Army aims to significantly reduce its carbon footprint and increase renewable energy generation. In its original climate strategy, the service set a goal of “achieving net zero.” [greenhouse gas] Emissions from Army installations by 2045.”
“We are focused on providing energy security for critical missions using carbon-free energy generation, battery storage and microgrids, using conservation practices and nature-based engineering. We are protecting the facility from climate hazards,” said Army Assistant Rachel Jacobson. Equipment, energy and environment secretary.
“[The] The Army owns far more buildings than any other federal agency,” she said at a forum at the American Army Association’s annual conference in Washington, DC. The main source of greenhouse gas emissions is, of course, a critical vulnerability to our mission. “
The Army has already begun deploying microgrids and carbon-free energy sources at many facilities, Jacobson said. The service’s climate strategy goals include installing microgrids at all Army installations by 2035 and achieving on-site, carbon-free power generation for Army critical missions at all installations by 2040. includes doing.
Pursuing these goals should ultimately lead to a reduction in the energy required to operate Army facilities, Jacobson added.
“Less energy required to power the facility means less backup power is needed in an emergency, allowing us to meet our self-generation goals,” she said. I was.
To achieve these goals, the Army will need to rely on partnerships with industry and “newly entered into performance contracts with third parties to bring investments in energy resilience to facilities without upfront costs.” “I’m putting a lot of emphasis on it,” she said.
In June, Lockheed Martin won an Army contract to install a GridStar Flow redox battery system at Fort Carson, Colorado. According to a company release, it will be the first megawatt-scale long-term energy storage system built for the Department of Defense.
GridStar Flow “stores power generated from renewable energy sources and delivers it to the grid during peak demand or unexpected power loss”, with an expected discharge time of 10 hours.
One of the benefits of GridStar Flow is the way it separates power and energy components, said Roger Jenkins, Federal Energy Account Manager at Lockheed Martin.
By separating these components, GridStar Flow can offer superior storage and discharge times compared to Lithium-ion batteries that force users to purchase more generating capacity than they need. That’s a challenge for long-term use,” Jenkins said in an interview. .
GridStar Flow’s power and energy components are “very flexible in terms of operating parameters,” he added.
“You can fully charge it and leave it charged for a long time. You can also fully discharge it. You can also go back and forth between charging and discharging very quickly,” Jenkins said. says.
The design and construction of the system at Fort Carson is expected to be completed in the second half of 2023, Jenkins said.
Once built, it will work and be tested against protocols developed by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, he said. The test will help the industry and the Department of Defense evaluate how well the storage technology performs against the Army’s goals and requirements, he added.
The Army has seen the industry bring sustainable solutions to other programs beyond equipment upgrades. For example, all five participants in the Optional Manned Fighting Vehicle, or OMFV program (a service replacement for the M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle), proposed a hybrid-electric design.Program Executive of Major General Glenn Dean, Ground Combat Systems said at a media roundtable at the AUSA conference.
Although the Army did not call for hybrid capabilities to be included in the proposal, the original climate strategy called for the Army to “deploy a dedicated hybrid-powered tactical vehicle by 2035 and a fully electric tactical vehicle by 2050. ” was set as a goal. The Army will ensure climate considerations are included in future contracts, said Doug Bush, the Army’s assistant secretary for procurement, logistics and technology.
“For example, there are always trade-offs within development programs to try to balance the various factors that a vehicle must meet,” Bush said at the Army Conference. Departments and services have the authority to ensure that energy efficiency requirements become a requirement for proposals, and “companies are rewarded for providing better solutions for this particular aspect of the vehicle,” he added. rice field.
“We have to prioritize between contracts, proposals and sticking to the end because ultimately… money has to speak at some point to show that we are serious. it is,” he added.
Reducing the vehicle’s reliance on fuel not only reduces the service’s greenhouse gas emissions, but also makes it more resilient on the battlefield, Farnan said.
“If we can reduce the amount of fuel our vehicles use by 30, 40, 50 percent, that’s half the fuel convoy we have to protect now,” he said. “This is half the casualties we risk. This is half the combat power we take out of combat.”
A truck navigating rugged terrain or a ship trying to cross the Pacific “is a long fuel line that all must be protected,” says Farnan. “So by using less fuel, hybridizing tactical vehicles, and using less fuel, we are actually empowering soldiers and providing them with better protection.”
Electrifying vehicles also allows the Army to introduce capabilities such as directed energy weapons to ground platforms, Bush said.
“Across the battlefield, vehicles need to be protected from various threats. People are seeing this in Ukraine,” he said. “The only way to make it affordable is with directed energy systems. For these to work, the vehicle must have electric or power management.”
In addition, the Army has developed specific plans in its Climate Strategy to place more emphasis on climate in training and strategic matters. These include publishing climate change lessons and best practices learned every two years beginning in fiscal year 2024, and by 2028, “climate change risks and threats in all Army operational and strategic exercises and simulations. “Consideration”.
In October, the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York, announced a partnership with the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Military Facilities, Energy and Environment to create the Sustainable Infrastructure, Resilience and Climate Consortium. .
“This initiative provides formal academic opportunities for cadets in the areas of sustainability and resilience,” said a West Point release. “Faculty and cadets will work with ASA IE&E to explore opportunities to integrate the links between national security, sustainable infrastructure, resilience and climate change.”
Jacobson pointed out that the Army’s climate efforts could be used as a way to recruit new soldiers.
“It’s a generation that understands this,” she said of her partnership with West Point. “We’re setting the stage for them. They’re going to take it forward.”
The Army has set ambitious climate goals, but continued collaboration within the Pentagon and with industry will play a key role in delivering the strategy, Jenkins said.
“That’s how you move forward. Set some challenging goals and do your best to reach them,” he said. [the] The Army and the Department of Defense are doing a good job of consolidating available funding with some of the third-party options to combine their funding with third-party funding. You get a little bit more power multiplier effect, and … you get a lot more value. for the funds available to you. “
“I think they have some challenges with third-party contracts and integration with DoD funding, but those goals are achievable and they are working very hard to achieve them. I will,” he added.
topic: Army News, Environment and Energy Security, Climate Change