Energy is an important factor in the execution of Air Force missions. In one way or another, each mission relies on energy.
The Air Force has developed a comprehensive energy management plan with the following goals:
· Improve resiliency to prevent any disruption to energy supplies;
· Optimize demand to optimize energy utilization’s efficiency in Air Force bases;
· Assure supply to increase access to reliable and uninterruptible energy supplies.
To better assess its energy challenges, the Air Force classifies its energy consumption into “operational energy” and “installation energy.” Operational energy includes aircraft fuels in addition to training, weapons moving and operations. Installation energy includes electric and thermal energies used in Air Force facilities.
A critical part of Air Force mission execution involves information technology.
The Air Force relies on IT infrastructure for a wide range of important tasks. Cybersecurity and resilient energy systems can help ensure IT systems are available when needed.
There are various ways to enhance energy resilience considering existing system configuration and future needs:
· Innovative energy concepts in IT centers – microgrids: Microgrids are typically made up of distributed generators, batteries and renewable resources like solar panels. Microgrids can operate as a standalone power supply for IT centers during a power blackout. When used in combination with resilient system design and industry system availability standards, microgrids can provide and effective and powerful energy resilience capability.
· Energy Independence and Security Act 2007 Mandate: EISA 2007 requires annual energy audits to identify energy waste and implement innovative energy-saving systems. Once findings are addressed, they improve energy consumption which lowers operational costs, reduces demand on energy systems and improves system reliability.
· Energy Savings Performance Contracts/Utility Energy Service Contracts: The Air Force also uses third party-funded contracts such as ESPCs and UESCs to obtain facility and infrastructure improvements. Unlike traditional construction contracts, savings are used to fund the cost of improvements. Depending on the circumstance, significant improvements can be made with little or no upfront investment, providing an effective tool for improving energy savings and resilience for IT centers.
Energy awareness culture
Through outreach and education programs, the Air Force fosters an energy-awareness culture that helps reduce energy use within the Air Force organization. Wright-Patterson Air Force Base facility managers and IT center managers can reach out to the 88th Civil Engineer Group’s Energy Management Office to learn more about this and other tools to improve their mission resilience.
Reach the Energy Management Office at WPAFBEnergyOffice@us.af.mil.
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