‘Powering Possibility’ theme promotes readiness, solutions, efficiencies

Energy Action Month

Every October, the Department of the Air Force recognizes Energy Action Month to highlight energy’s critical role in operations and mission continuity and to encourage smart energy use and management for installations, ground vehicles and aircraft.

This year, a new three-year theme, “Powering Possibility,” reflects the department’s forward-looking approach to energy innovation and powering the future force. This theme will showcase energy’s essential role in assuring combat capability and readiness, underscore the importance of developing high return-on-investment energy solutions that bolster resilience in the face of climate change and encourage Airmen and Guardians to prioritize efficient energy and water management

Presidential Executive Order 14008, “Tackling the Climate Crisis,” requires the government to convert liquid-fueled fleet vehicles to clean/zero-emission electric vehicles by 2035. This order directs the Army and Air Force to covert approximately 106,000 existing government liquid-fueled vehicles to ZEVs by 2030.

Army & Air Force Exchange Service Real Estate is actively working to develop a memorandum of agreement to present to the Department of the Army to plan, design, install, operate, manage and maintain future GOV-EV charging facilities supporting a ZEV fleet.

The Air Force energy strategy is detailed in the Air Force Energy Flight plan published and maintained by the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Energy, Installations and Environment’s Energy Program. It lays out three goals designed to move the Air Force toward improving energy assurance, enhancing energy security and overcoming the challenges posed by the vulnerabilities created by energy requirements.

These goals are: improve resiliency, optimize demand and assure supply.

Resilience is the ability to anticipate prepare for and adapt to changing conditions and withstand respond to and recover rapidly from energy disruptions. This includes identifying and planning for potential threats to energy supplies. This goal helps ensure the Air Force has the capabilities needed to:

  • Evaluate and prioritize risks to energy supplies efficiently, consistently, and with minimal burden
  • Mitigate impacts from disruptions in energy supplies
  • Assure continuity in operations when energy supplies are interrupted
  • Accommodate highly uncertain fluctuations in energy availability and cost

To optimize demand, the Air Force is adopting operational and logistical efficiencies and new technologies to improve its energy resiliency and enhance its mission effectiveness. By integrating energy-efficient technologies and fuel optimization measures, the Air Force can stabilize and reduce operational and infrastructure energy demand while enhancing its mission and range.

The intent of this goal is to ensure the Air Force is productively and efficiently using energy, while capitalizing on technological and procedural best practices.

Supply assurance focuses on diversifying the types of energy used and their sources to mitigate the effect of any supply shortages. It also allows for more flexibility in rapid-deployment scenarios.

In March 2016 (updated May 2018), the Office of the Secretary of Defense issued a memorandum establishing a policy to require installation-level energy plans for all DOD components. The U.S. Air Force’s mission-driven installation energy plan process integrates applicable installation and higher-level strategic guidance, plans and policies into a holistic roadmap to help an installation work constructively toward its energy assurance goals.

It creates decision-making framework to assist Air Force installations in achieving their energy goals and ensuring that energy and water resilience is sufficient to meet critical mission assurance requirements. It accomplishes this by developing a score card ranking each installation and mission in five areas, known as the five Rs. They are:

  • Robustness: Can the energy and water systems withstand a variety of scenarios?
  • Redundancy: Are there multiple alternative systems and sources to avoid single points of failure?
  • Resourcefulness: Is energy efficiently managed and delivered?
  • Response: Is the installation prepared to respond to an emergency or disruption?
  • Recovery: How quickly can the installation restore normal conditions?

Wright-Patterson is continuing its energy-conservation efforts by following policies and guidance set forth by the new executive orders to achieve zero-carbon emissions and establishing renewable energy to lessen our carbon footprint. Electric vehicles are making their way into Wright-Patterson’s driver seat.

Do you want to keep up with Wright-Patterson Air Force Base news?

Wright Patt Today is a newsletter for people who live, work and care about one of the largest Air Force bases in the world. We'll deliver the latest military-related news and stories important to the Wright-Patterson community to your inbox every weekday.

Efforts are being made to establish a program for charging stations for GOVs and POVs. Currently the Air Force has 17 pilot programs to install charging stations on bases across the country. This will help pave the way for a path forward.

Additionally, energy resilience gaps identified in the IEP are further validated through Energy Resilience Readiness Exercises in which the installation is separated from the commercial power grid and critical infrastructure and missions are tested. The ERRE provides a controlled environment to evaluate and understand energy and water resilience gaps.

Using an exercise framework, power and water resources are manipulated to reveal gaps in utility/infrastructure systems and enable improved understanding of those systems. Secondary and downstream impacts may be understood in a controlled environment which will provide information to improve mission readiness.

For more information on the WPAFB IEP, or anything energy related, contact the Energy Management Office WPAFBEnergyOffice@wpafb.af.mil.

About the Author