August 10, 2011 By Chad Vander Veen
Secretary of the Army John McHugh announced Wednesday, Aug. 10, a new initiative to dramatically increase the Army’s integration of renewable energy solutions. In a press conference at the GovEnergy Conference in Cincinnati, McHugh said the Army views itself “as a target-rich environment” for reducing its dependence on fossil fuels. To that end, McHugh detailed the establishment of the Energy Initiatives Office (EIO) Task Force.
“To meet our longer term objectives, the goal that we have by 2025 to have 25 percent of our energy consumption coming from renewable sources, we have to do better. That’s why today I announce the formation of the Energy Office Initiative for the United States Army,” McHugh said.
The EIO Task Force will be operational by Sept. 15. Through the EIO, McHugh said, the Army will work with the private sector to create renewable energy solutions.
“It will serve as a one-stop shop to allow the private sector to come and find the opportunities for partnerships in a variety of renewable and alternative energy programs,” McHugh said.
To meet the 25 percent by 2025 goal, the Army anticipates it will need $7.1 billion in investments. The EIO Task Force is designed to be the conduit through which that private-sector investment will be fostered.
“It’s the right thing to do for the environment,” McHugh said. “And certainly in this age of diminishing resources it’s the right thing to do for taxpayers and most importantly, it’s the right thing to do for our soldiers.”
The EIO Task Force will work within the Army to streamline existing acquisition processes and leverage industry for the execution of large-scale renewable and alternative energy projects on Army installations. Army installations currently are pursuing renewable energy infrastructure, but often lack needed expertise. The EIO Task Force will fill this expertise gap and provide resources focused on working with the private sector to execute large-scale renewable energy projects. This is expected to result in increased interest by project developers and improved financial options for the Army, according to a press release that followed McHugh’s announcement.
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