Making the Defense Department more energy efficient

Second, generate and store – U.S. military installations offer the opportunity to implement a vast array of renewable energy sources including solar, wind and geothermal power. With advances in storage technologies, renewable energy can play a greater role in a diverse power generation mix.

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Third, control and monitor - Automation takes the guesswork out of energy efficiency. The DOD is expanding its use of automation to meter power usage, control lighting, manage building climate and generate power on-demand. Building automation, lighting and water technologies are proven to save facilities anywhere from 30% to 50% of their energy consumption.

Fourth, implement microgrids - The DOD is now moving to the use of Microgrids, self-contained islands of power transmission, distribution and utilization that can function autonomously or be connected to a larger power grid. Microgrids offer the DOD the ability to drive efficiencies, lower costs and provide energy security for military bases. They will be a more reliable, secure solution to manage, distribute, measure, utilize and conserve electricity use. Microgrids can also serve as an integrator for multiple sources of energy, including renewables, improving the function and capacity of our national grid system overall.

In fact, using a suite of available technologies, it is possible that the DOD could go from being the largest consumer of electricity to being a lean consumer with power to spare by providing energy back to the grid.

Technologies exist today to support all four aspects of energy effectiveness and today’s budget realities make it more urgent than ever to drive the energy agenda. The logistics required to fuel the DOD’s mission will require initial investment, but a balanced approach including efficiency measures, renewable energy generation and grid security will yield significant savings now and in the future.

Marks serves as president and Chief Executive Officer of Siemens Government Technologies, Inc., a federally-compliant U.S. organization and leading integrator of Siemens’ innovative products, technologies and services for programs within the federal government.