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Air Force Putting $2.3B into Energy, Water Conservation

air force solarA host of efforts from the U.S. Air Force are expected to help reduce facility energy intensity 30 percent and potable water use 16 percent by 2015.

The Air Force is spending $2.3 billion on energy conservation, energy-related facility audits, third-party contract buyouts, water conservation and renewable energy projects, according to a press release.

As part of the initiative, the Air Force intends to increase use of renewable energy to 3 percent of all electricity used on bases. As a percentage of all electricity used by the Air Force, the goal is for renewables to account for 10.5 percent by 2015.

In 2009 the Air Force built solar arrays at: Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii; Fresno Air National Guard Base, Calif.; Toledo ANGB, Ohio; Camp Perry ANGB, Ohio; McGuire AFB, N.J.; and Eglin AFB, Fla.

A 2-megawatt wind turbine was put in place at F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo., while a 1.5-megawatt wind turbine entered service at the Massachusetts Military Reservation.

Via a combination of adding renewable energy and becoming more energy efficient, the Air Force has been able to reduce its energy intensity by 13 percent, compared to a 2003 baseline.

Previously, energy efficiency measures have come in a decentralized fashion. Going forward, the Air Force will centrally manage all facilities energy programs through the Air Force Facility Energy Center, a division of the Air Force Civil Engineer Support Agency.

On Dec. 21, Robins Air Force Base in Georgia announced it would purchase about 5 percent of its annual electricity consumption in the form for renewable energy supplied by Georgia Power.

In October, the Air Force said that Soaring Heights Community at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base will become the largest solar-powered community in the continental U.S., upon completion.

The Air Force is not alone among military branches in its efforts.

Navy ships saved more than $79 million in fuel costs during the first and second quarters of fiscal year (FY) 2009 through the i-ENCON program, reports the Navel Sea Systems Command Office of Corporate Communications.

The U.S. Navy reduced its overall energy consumption level by 12 percent in 2008. Projects have centered on wind energy generation, solar photovoltaic systems, geothermal systems and ocean thermal energy conversion at military bases primarily in California.

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