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Renewable Energy

The Army needs to satisfy multiple goals and constraints while securing its energy supplies — focusing upon procurement of the lowest-cost energy that meets high reliability standards and minimum vulnerability to interruption from natural or intentional causes. Overlaid on this challenge is the need to comply with a series of statutes and policies as summarized below. These include:

  • Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct 2005) Section 203. This law mandates the minimum contribution of renewable energy to an installation's total electricity consumption. The targets are:
    • 3% FY 2007 through FY 2009
    • 5% through FY 2012, and
    • Not less than 7.5 % beginning FY 2013.
  • In addition, proposed legislation, Senate Bill 1321, would increase these goals to 10% by FY 2010 and 15% by FY 2015. Although the bill has become law as the EISA, the renewable energy provisions were not included in the final version. It is likely this provision will be reintroduced in energy legislation in the next Congress.
  • Executive Order (EO) 13423. The EO reiterates the EPAct 2005 goals; however it uses a different basis for measuring and crediting progress than EPAct 2005.
  • The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2007. The NDAA 2007 codifies DoD's voluntary goal of 25% of all energy consumed by 2025, but doesn't include any interim targets.

The table below summarizes these statutes and policies.

  EPAct Section 203 Executive Order 13423 National Defense Authorization Act (2007)
Target/Goal Increasing targets reaching 7.5% renewable content of electricity consumed At least 7.5% of electric energy from new renewable energy with at least 50% from new renewable sources (after 1998) 25% of all energy consumed from renewable sources of supply
Target Dates 2013 Yes No
Mandatory? 2013 Yes Yes
Considers thermal energy "renewable?" 2025 No Yes

Guidance and Interpretation of Goals

The Department of Energy (DOE) is responsible for developing guidance for EPAct 2005 and EO13423. DOE's guidelines for EO compliance allow credit for renewable energy that reduces electricity use from thermal sources; however DOE adds a requirement that at least 50% of renewable energy must come from "new" resources; those put into service after January 1, 1999. DOE's guidance for EPAct 2005 is that renewable energy that is not electricity, such as solar thermal energy, daylighting, or ground source heat pumps, cannot be credited towards the EPAct 2005 goals. Congress did not provide a definition of "renewable" in the NDAA 2007 language, and DOE is not responsible for establishing DoD or Army policies to achieve the goals in the NDAA.

Guidance from the Army including practical information on renewable energy technologies is available in the Renewable Energy Handbook for Installations. Additional guidance is provided by the U.S Department of Energy and can be found on the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) web site.

The current Army energy strategy for renewable energy takes an expansive view of renewable energy that encompasses thermal energy from renewable sources. As a result, the Army is developing a strategy and implementing projects to satisfy Congressional, Administration, and DoD mandates and directives. The expectation is that the Army will meet the stricter definitions of EPAct 2005 on its way to meeting the much higher renewable energy goals of the NDAA 2007.


The following are self-generating renewable energy projects implemented and operating on Army installations:

  • Fort Stewart, GA generates high-pressure steam using wood chips at the central energy plant.
  • Fort Knox, KY converted barracks to geothermal.
  • Fort Huachuca, AZ has photovoltaic, solar, and wind generation.
  • Rock Island Arsenal, IL generates electricity from its hydroelectric plant.
  • Red River Army Depot, TX consumes renewable energy through burning wood scrap.

Green Power Procurement

Army policy is to purchase Green Power—electricity generated from renewable energy sources when it is available. The Army continues to emphasize the use of passive solar designs, such as building orientation and window placement and sizing, in a variety of building types and new facility construction. The Army anticipates more growth in the implementation of renewable energy and active solar technologies due to the recently implemented Sustainable Design and Development guidance.

Redstone Arsenal purchases steam from the City of Huntsville that is produced from municipal solid waste. Fort Carson is purchasing electrical power generated from renewable sources from Colorado Springs Utility. The Army is making a special effort to purchase renewable energy generated from solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass.

These purchases assist the Army in achieving the goals of EPAct 05 which mandates that of the total amount of electric energy the federal government consumes during any fiscal year, not less than 3 percent in fiscal years 2007 through 2009, not less than 5 percent in fiscal years 2010 through 2012, and not less than 7.5 percent in fiscal year 2013 and each year thereafter, be renewable energy.


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