- "Remodeling the US Government for Energy Security" by Sharon Burke and Christine Parthemore of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) (PDF here)
- Another CNAS piece: "Peak Oil: A Survey of Security Concerns" by Neil King Jr (PDF here)
- "The Fuel Gauge of National Security" by Navy Commander Jeffrey Eggers in the Armed Force Journal
- By James Russell and Daniel Moran: "The Militarization of Energy Security"
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
Lithium ion batteries are anticipated to replace gasoline as the principal source of energy in future cars and military vehicles. Today, United States automobile manufacturers and defense contractors depend upon foreign suppliers — increasingly concentrated in Asia — for lithium ion battery cells.I wish these guys a lot of luck for several reasons. The full release is here.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Map Courtesy of US Congressman Roscoe Bartlett
Friday, December 19, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
- Four 300Kw generators for ten un-insulated tents
- Total of 1.2MW, or an average of 120Kw per tent
- Was not enough, so two more 300Kw generators brought in for a total of 1.8MW, or an average of 180 Kw per tent
- Foam-insulated tent with permanent HVAC requires a 30Kw generator
- 75% - 83% reduction in the generator size
- Straight-line projection (approx 75% - 83% ) fuel savings
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
The surface U.S. Navy will remain dependent on fossil fuels for at least the next 40 to 50 years.That's what the engineers said. And barring enormous, unexpected innovations in ship propulsion, it's probably a conservative estimate. But still, it's kind of spooky. Today's $40 oil may make it seem like a benign forecast, but the ripple effects of low oil prices make it clear that the next economic cycle will witness global economies competing for far less oil than was available when prices spiked this summer. The implications for future prices are sobering.
Monday, December 15, 2008
But actually, it began a long time ago, long before it became clear this man had a realistic chance to become President. In early 2006, almost 3 years ago, US Senator Obama gave a speech titled "Energy Security is National Security". His remarks followed right on the heals of President Bush's seemingly bold State of the Union pledge to move the US away from oil dependency, and he points to Bush's immediate (and humiliating) kowtow to OPEC when the Saudis expressed concern about his enthusiasm for alternative energy. Obama says this behavior is symptomatic of the US vulnerability. He said, "All we really need to know about the danger of our oil addiction comes directly from the mouths of our enemies:
"Oil is the umbilical cord and lifeline of the crusader community." These are the words of Al Qaeda.More than anyone else who's ascended to our highest office, Obama understands that energy is a national security issue, that "the Achilles heel of the most powerful country on Earth is the oil we cannot live without." This man will soon be the Commander in Chief of our Armed Forces, and I for one am eager to see how the DOD responds to real energy leadership.
"Focus your operations on oil, especially in Iraq and the Gulf area, since this will cause them to die off." These are the words Osama bin Laden.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Fossil fuels resemble capital in the bank. A prudent and responsible parent will use his capital sparingly in order to pass on to his children as much as possible of his inheritance. A selfish and irresponsible parent will squander it in riotous living and care not one whit how his offspring will fare.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Seventy percent of the convoys in Iraq and Afghanistan are for fuel and water. These convoys are at risk from roadside bombs and snipers. Just moving fuel entails great danger to US troops.... If we could cut the amount of convoys in half, the logistics tail would be significantly reduced. The result would be drastic improvements in the ratio of shooters-to-support personnel.
The problem with [current DOD energy strategy] is that it dictates a halt in the development of alternative technologies as soon as the price of oil falls.... This inevitable knee-jerk response to [oil price fluctuations] has got to go.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
In an upcoming edition of Foreign Affairs journal, Gates has penned an article titled "A Balanced Strategy: Reprogramming the Pentagon for a New Age". And though energy issues are not discussed directly in the piece, Gates' vision for what the department needs to work on provides a contextual framework for energy security decisions in the coming years. His argument for balance is comprised of three main components:
"Between trying to prevail in current conflicts and preparing for other contingencies"
"Between institutionalizing capabilities such as counterinsurgency and foreign military assistance and maintaining the United States' existing conventional and strategic technological edge against other military forces", and ...
"Between retaining those cultural traits that have made the U.S. armed forces successful and shedding those that hamper their ability to do what needs to be done”
Clearly, the lack of energy efficiency as a KPP in systems requirements formulation fits best in Gates’ category 3: a trait that has hampered our operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and will continue to impair our capabilities in other theaters if not addressed. Ultimately, the DOD's acknowledgement in NDAA 2009 that energy issues are a major factor in systems requirements, operational effectiveness and budgeting will color each of Gates' three "balance" components. In some cases energy will limit us; in others it will present new opportunities for the US to gain the advantage. But either way, it is here to stay as a permanent part of the way we determine our priorities and options in armed conflict, and in the way DOD prepares for its next big assignments.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
- Data center efficiency (Project Big Green), including a new state-of-the-art facility in Boulder, CO (picture above)
- Smart workforce management (increasing use of remote workers via online collaboration tools)
- Intelligent transportation systems (to reduce congestion induced fuel waste)
- Smart utility grid (adding intelligence to the grid reaps big energy savings)
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Thursday, December 4, 2008
- Lovins said DOD is setting the pace for the nation on energy efficiency and emissions reduction. In particular, it's embracing the concepts of negawatts and neg-emissions so troops have greater flexibility and face less exposure to hostile fire while protecting fuel in transit
- Speaking of which, he noted that DOD uses 70% of its total fuel resources on moving people, equipment ... and fuel
- He remarked that DOD used to think of price of fuel delivery was free. Since April of this year, and the NDAA 2009 (both well documented on this blog) however, the FBCF and its energy KPPs will ensure that Prime DOD contractors will be competing to see who can bring the most energy efficient solutions. And he predicted that those efficiency technologies and strategies will find their way into the commercial sector as have so many other groundbreaking military technologies before them
- When the moderator, Paul Maeder of Highland Capital Partners asked him about the effects on certain world leaders of today's lower oil prices, as well as in the future envisioned by Lovins, Lovins replied that folks like Ahmadinejad, Putin, Chavez and the Saudi's "would have to get real jobs." Much laughter ensued.
- Lovins passed around an ultra light, ultra strong carbon fiber ballistic helmet intended for military use, and noted similar materials used for auto bodies will be game changers, allowing cars to lose half their weight. Said to check out the Toyota 1X
- When asked about Obama, Lovins said he was already exerting strong energy leadership and stressed that this was going to be very helpful. And then he said Obama is going to have to restructure/repurpose the DOE
- The last thing I got to ask him was what fuel did he think would power USAF planes 10-20 years from now. At first he mentioned liquid hydrogen, but didn't seem too sure about its military utility. And then he moved on to saying maybe it'll be what we use today: JP8 from traditional sources. But suggested that if the DOD and the nation continue on the energy efficiency course on which they've embarked, it won't cost much as it will be in less demand.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
- Author of seminal 1976 article appearing in Foreign Affairs: Energy Strategy: The Road Not Taken?
- In 1982, founded the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) in Snowmass, CO
- Author of Winning the Oil Endgame - essential reading published in 2005
- Served on the DSB Energy Task Force that published my favorite DOD energy report in Feb 2008 (see link in sidebar). Said overall it's a quality piece of work, though he would have emphasized some aspects more ... like the massive endurance benefits DOD gets via efficiency improvements
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
- Member of the Board of Directors: Chevron
- Member of the Board of Directors: Boeing
- President of Institute for 21st Century Energy, an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Jim is focused on the threats of today and the future. He understands the connection between energy and national security and has worked on the front lines of global instability, from Kosovo to northern Iraq to Afghanistan.
Monday, December 1, 2008
- C1 (one carbon atom fuel - methane)
- C2 (two carbon atom fuel - ethane)
- C3 (three carbon atom fuel - propane)
- C7-C10 (gasoline)
- C10-C16 (jet fuel/JP8)
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
- Small in size
- About 25 MW in capacity - enough for 20,000 homes
- Inherently safe design, built to work underground
- $25-30M for each unit
- Almost ready for production
Monday, November 24, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
- Most energy infrastructure work (development and maintenance) is stalled ... worldwide
- Oil development work in US slowing, stopping
- Russia infrastructure will deteriorate and oil output will decline over next few years
- Only some OPEC countries like Saudi Arabia will continue to spending on their oil infrastructure ... though at a lower rate than in the past
- Investments in the renewables build-out way down as no money is flowing
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
- B1-B bomber: 59 gallons per minute
- B-52 bomber: 54 gallons per minute
- KC-135 tanker: 35 gallons per minute
- F-16 fighter: 13 gallons per minute
Photo courtesy of Mike Hawes @ Flickr
Monday, November 17, 2008
The purpose of the Energy Awareness Program is to publicize the goals, strategies, successes and lessons learned of the Navy Energy Program, produce an annual Secretary of Navy awards ceremony, increase Naval military and civilian employees’ knowledge of energy efficiency and conservation, develop products that will change the behavior of Navy personnel resulting in decreased energy use, develop and transfer technical and program management information to the DON community, and assist Naval activities in meeting energy reduction goals through awareness education.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Recent oil project delays announced by several companies could spark a supply crunch by 2010, Birol warned.So the same economic conditions that are keeping price down today are also scuttling exploration and development projects that could increase supply in the future. And even accounting for the current global economic slowdown, expected increases in demand mean a shortfall is looming:
The IEA ... forecast that extra oil production of 45 million barrels per day was needed by 2030 to offset declining oilfield output. That [is] more than four times the current capacity of Saudi Arabia, which is the world’s biggest oil producer.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
It is precisely the long acquisition lead times of these petroleum-fueled weapon systems [e.g., F-22A Raptor], in conjunction with their decades-long life cycles [e.g, the 45-year-old B-52 fleet], that will uniquely force the DoD to be the first government agency to address an approaching global oil peak.I also like the boldness of Chapter 3 - Creating an Assured Energy Strategy, which includes a "Three Stage Approach" as follows:
- Stage I – 2006-2015 Near Term Strategy
- Stage II – 2020-2035 Mid Term Strategy
- Stage III – 2035-2050 The “New Energy Force”
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Translation: oil's at $59 a barrel tonight and showing no sign of returning to $100, let alone its recent high of $145 anytime soon. And attending the oil price fall, US gasoline prices have dropped for the 17th straight week and are now under $2 a gallon in some locations. In fact, it's not clear that the oil price yo-yo is even in "walk" phase yet.
At the same time, anemic US auto manufacturers are indicating that they're on the verge of collapsing if they don't get a Federal infusion pretty soon. They've already been lent billions to retool to build cars that get far better mileage. Left to their own devices, they weren't ready for this summer's price spike, and they're not ready for the economic downturn now. Lessons for those steering the US economy and industrial base are many, not the least of which is that in a peak oil climate, whatever the price of oil is today, that's what it's least likely to be tomorrow. Ditto for 1, 5, 10, 20 years down the road. Future DOD planning needs to take this volatility as a given and not let it get in the way of specifying systems that are far less impacted by this highly volatile commodity.
Monday, November 10, 2008
- Army Secretary Pete Geren recently appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Energy and Partnerships Paul Bollinger to "build a team that will work across the Army and try to break down the stovepipes."
- Geren approved the creation of the Army Senior Energy Council on Sept. 26
- Comprised of more than two dozen senior civilian and uniformed leaders, the body is co-chaired by Gen. Pete Chiarelli, the Army's vice chief of staff, and Keith Eastin, the service's assistant secretary for installations and environment
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Energy availability and cost has direction implications on DOD requirements, operations and costs.... National security strategy may need to be changed. Roles and missions of the services may be affected as well.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
It is a pity that most of the Pentagon's efforts are concentrated on generating electricity, which accounts for less than 12 percent of military energy consumption, and not on oil, which accounts for more than 75 percent.Hopefully with the advent of the fully burdened cost of fuel (FBCF) initiative in the 2009 NDAA, we'll start to see a change. But it's got to come fast, to an institution that's often averse to change. It will be decades before the the systems designed today are fielded. Do you the next planes and ships are being designed with fuel efficiency or new fuels in mind?
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
I think he's being overly conservative using the term "the perception." In the 20th century we saw oil play a strategic role in economic and military success. In the 21st century there are already clear sigals that oil and gas price and availability are key leverage points for Russia and OPEC. The pressure will come not just from the supply side, but from countries jockeying for what they see as their rightful part of the supply. As we move further into this century, McConnell sees that:Territorial expansion and military rivalries are not likely, but cannot be ruled out, and the perception that oil is scarce could trigger conflicts between states.
By 2025, China is likely to have the world's second largest economy and to have emerged as a major military power, the largest importer of natural resources and the largest contributor to world pollution.It's all about energy security: the more we can move DOD and the rest of the economy off the oil standard, the less vulnerabile the US will be to the turmoil McConnell and many others see coming. Those working the problem today know it's a tough, tough problem. They need all the help we can give them.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
Lifecycle cost would be too thorny because of fluctuations in areas outside the Pentagon's control. For example, the price of oil recently dropped, dramatically reducing the lifecycle cost of both aircraft. However, fuel efficiency of the two bids were different, and given the challenge of projecting such costs in the future, Young says the simplest way of conducting a price competition is to focus solely on the up-front price associated with developing and buying the first aircraft.I wanted to make the case that this procurement, more than any other, should take into account the DOD's own new policy on including the fully burdened cost of fuel (FBCF) in its lifecycle and logistic projections for new systems. But adding that on here mid-course would just be adding to the folly. USAF either needs to award this contract based on the criteria it published when it released the RFP, or it needs to kill this acquisition and start fresh. I'd go with the latter of course.
And this time put fuel efficiency at the top of the requirements list. It's disturbing that leadership is so easily swayed by day-to-day fluctuations in the price of energy, when the overall price trends are clearly pointing up, and at risk of spiking on a moment's notice. Haven't we learned anything from the recent several years of energy-induced budget shock? It's not just the high price, it's the volatility that's beating up DOD budgeting and procurement. See posts here, here, here and here.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
This contract will make it much easier for Federal Agencies to respond to the renewable energy and energy management objectives outlined by President Bush in last year's Executive Order 13423 (see link in sidebar)
As part of the announcement, GSA outlined the services offered via this schedule, including:
- Energy Audit Services
- Energy Management Program Support, Planning and Strategies
- Water Audits, Management and Conservation Solutions
- Resource Efficiency Management and Training
- Innovative Renewable Energy Solutions
- Building Commissioning Services
- Metering and Advanced Metering Services
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Biofuel-powered aircraft could be carrying millions of passengers around the world within three years, according to Boeing.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
The urgent push for more drone pilots has been spurred by blunt demands from Defense Secretary Robert Gates. He has criticized the Air Force's failure to move more quickly to meet war commanders' needs. And he set up a task force in April to find more innovative ways to get the aircraft to the battlefield more quickly.
A senior Air Force officer told The Associated Press that by the end of September 2011, the goal is to have 50 unmanned combat air patrols operating 24 hours a day, largely over Iraq and Afghanistan. Currently there are 30.
To generate the pilots for the increased flights, the Air Force hopes to create separate pilot pipelines for its manned and unmanned aircraft, said Col. Curt Sheldon, assistant to the director of air operations for unmanned aircraft issues.
I don't know that you could ever get (a drone) to everybody who wants one," Sheldon said. "I believe it is virtually insatiable. We are pedaling fast, we are working hard to meet that need."
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Working Groups on:
- Conventional Fuels
- Investment and Contracting
- Regulations and Laws and Policies
- Grids (includes microgrids, mini grids, etc.)
- Improving Vehicle Fuel Efficiency through Management and Technology
- New Technologies for Energy Efficiency/Demand Reduction
Monday, October 27, 2008
In Thomas Friedman's latest book Hot, Flat & Crowded, Friedman takes David Edwards' perfect distillation of the situation "Uncertainly Costs Money" and runs with it:
It is now the fossil fuels that have increasingly uncertain prices attached to them (and prices that are trending upward), and it is the renewables that have increasingly certain prices attached to them (and prices that are trending downward).And you can take that to the bank. Strategic take away: the more DOD can factor in reduced fuel consumption via improved fuel efficiency and fuel management practices, and the faster it can supplement and (sometimes replace) fossil fuels with renewables, the sooner this (budget) hostage situation will be over.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
- Kuwait Fuel to FOB: 431 millions of gallons
- Fuel trucks needed: 140,075
- Convoys needed: 9,332
- Soldiers per convoy trip (Fuel trucks, protection, other support): 120
- Soldier trips: 644,360
- Each 1% Fuel Savings: 6,444 Fewer Soldier trips (my italics)
Switching gears from tactical fuel issues to installations, slides 13 - 17 are also good and show hypothetical Army deployment locations for solar, geothermal, wind, and biomass. Sure it's just a Powerpoint dec, but it certainly gives the impression that Bollinger and his staff are thinking through the energy security issue and generating plans to turn things around.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Not long ago, technology broke the power of another strategic commodity. Until around the end of the nineteenth century salt had such a position because it was the only means of preserving meat. Odd as it seems today, salt mines conferred national power and wars were even fought over control of them. Today, no nation sways history because it has salt mines. Salt is still a useful commodity for a range of purposes. We import some salt, so if one defines independence as autarky we are not “salt independent”. But to most of us there is no “salt dependence” problem at all — because electricity and refrigeration decisively ended salt’s monopoly of meat preservation, and thus its strategic importance.Unfortunately, oil prices are not dropping today because newer forms of energy have replaced it, but rather because the global economy is taking two steps back. Some are celebrating, but on a DOD Round Table telecon yesterday, DDR&E's Mindy Montgomery noted it's not just high energy prices that cause problems, but also the havoc extreme price volatility plays with the DOD budgeting process. Who reading this post in Oct 2008 would care to predict the price of a barrel of oil this time next year? What if your job/military/country depended on it? The sooner folks like Ms. Montgomery, OSD and the rest of DOD help new energy technology turn oil into salt, the better off we'll be.
Monday, October 20, 2008
The Secretary of Defense shall conduct a comprehensive technical and operational risk assessment of the risks posed to mission critical installations, facilities, and activitiesof the Department of Defense by extended power outages resulting from failure of the commercial electricity supply or grid and related infrastructure.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
- DoD Planning Processes Undervalue Fuel And Its Delivery Costs and DoD Business Practices and Culture Disincentivize Strategic Investment
- FBCF is a force planning variable
- FBCF is an input to requirements and the acquisition process
- FBCF is a denominator for metrics
- FBCF is a facilitator for portfolio analysis
- FBCF is a composite of capability and cost
Thursday, October 16, 2008
- Mr. Wayne Arny - Deputy Under Secretary, Installations and Environment, USD/AT
- Mr. Chris DiPetto - Deputy Director, Systems and Software Engineering, OUSD/AT
- Mr. Don Juhasz - Chief, Army Energy and Utility Programs, ACSIM
- Mr. Dan Mathis - Deputy Division Head, Mission Assurance, NSWC
- Ms. Pamela Serino - Chief, Product Technology and Standardization, DESC/DLA
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Yet while work to address fuel dependency gets lots of press, working to free bases of their over reliance on the brittle (i.e. unreliable) grid, if it's happening, is less visible. Last week while discussing the STAR-TIDES program that includes mobile and often renewable sources of power, Dr. Linton Wells, Distinguished Research Fellow and Force Transformation Chair at NDU, said In-Q-Tel-backed SkyBuilt could possibly play a helpful role. Check out their site and see whether you think their technologies could scale to the levels needed to keep an operational base operational in a time of natural disaster or terrorism.
Photo courtesy of SkyBuilt Power
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
"There is no energy policy. There is no coordinated Defense Department program for renewable energy deployment and no single office in the Pentagon that tracks it ... The projects so far happened largely because ... a particular base commander somewhere [is] enthusiastic about doing this and puts in the effort to make it happen."
From what I can tell, whether or not it is organizing as formally as it should to get this work done, the combination of light regulatory guidance supported by some leadership at the top, is helping. Combined with the initiative of numerous base and mission support group commanders who want to see their bases (and the DOD in general) do better in the age of massive energy uncertainty, and who work within extremely tight budgets, it appears the DOD is moving in the right direction. And hopefully, at the right speed.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
- 270 MWs of geothermal @ China Lake, California (now)
- 14 MWs of solar @ Nellis AFB, Nevada (now)
- 3.8 MWs of wind @ Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (now)
- 30 MWs of geothermal @ Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada (coming)
- Geothermal @ Hawthorne Army Depot, Nevada (coming)
- Wind @ Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas (coming)
- 8+ MWs of solar, biomass, geothermal @ McGuire AFB, New Jersey (coming)
- Solar and wind @ Fort Huachuca, Arizona (now)
- Solar @ Fort Drum, New York (now)