US Air Force Releases Strategic Energy Plan

The US Air Force, the largest single energy consumer in the federal government, released its Energy Strategic Plan, which will continue its successful efforts in cutting energy use.

Last year, the Air Force spent $9 billion on energy – 8% of its total budget – and over 85% of that was for jet fuel. That’s after saving $1.5 billion in energy costs in 2012.

To put that in perspective, the federal government consumes 1% of all US energy, and most of that goes to the Department of Defense (DoD). The Air Force uses almost half of the energy of the DoD.

"That of course means that even moderate improvements in our conservation, in our efficiency, can drive very large dollar savings that can enable us to invest in other vitally needed capabilities," says Dr. Jamie Morin, acting under secretary of the Air Force.

Air Force

The Air Force has cut aviation fuel consumption 12%, exceeding its goal of 10% by 2015, and plans to use biofuels for 50% of domestic aviation by 2016.

It has also reduced the "energy intensity" of buildings by more than 21% since 2003 and is on track to meet
its target of cutting that 37.5% by 2020.

IBM’s software is being used to maximize energy efficiency across its entire infrastructure in 170 locations around the world.

"We need to, and are focusing on the capability we get out of energy each gallon, each watt of electricity. We are changing the way we operate," says Morin.

Last year, renewable energy supplied 5.5% of the Air Force’s electricity. The goal is to raise that to 25% by 2025 – 1 gigawatt by 2016.

There are four priorities in the new Energy Strategic Plan, the first update since 2010: improve resiliency, reduce demand, assure supply, and foster an energy aware culture. 

"We are not, and will not, accept the notion that one has to choose between energy efficiency and mission accomplishment. What I think we’ve demonstrated over the last several years, and will continue to demonstrate, is that those can be complimentary and mutually reinforcing goals," Morin says.

Last year, the Department of Defense released its Clean Energy Implementation Plan, which will "transform the way" it uses energy. It commits DoD to sourcing 25% of its energy from renewables by 2025.

Here is the Air Force plan:

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