According to a recent press release, the United States Air Force is the largest consumer of energy in the federal government. The bill for electricity and fuel for Air Force operations alone in 2011 topped $8.2 billion.
But the Air Force has made a concerted effort to lower energy costs–and save taxpayer money–by reducing demand and increasing the use of alternative energy. Implementing alternative fuel sources and relying on solar power for electricity are part of the new energy strategy.
Coming up with new strategies is what the annual Renewable Energy Industry Day in Arlington, VA, is all about. Military leaders collaborate with industry leaders about how the public and private sectors can work together to fulfill the military’s energy needs. The summit was held this year in June.
“The Air Force is fully committed to culture change, reducing demand and increasing supply,” said Terry Yonkers. “The overriding concern is to secure energy for the future.”
Yonkers is the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force Installations, Environment and Logistics.
One obstacle to using more alternative fuels has been ensuring that the Air Force fleet is ready to use them. To remedy this, the Air Force recently announced that it “has positioned 99 percent of its aircraft inventory to conduct unrestricted operations using alternatives to traditional petroleum-based fuels.”