U.S. Army Leads Cultural Revolution for Clean Energy

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - The increased occurrence of extreme weather events means that climate change is rising on boardroom agendas, and many companies perceive these risks as a real and present danger. Extreme weather events are causing significant financial damage to markets; governments seeking to build strong economies are taking note. It includes the White House, which announced in 2012 that the Defence Department was making one of the largest commitments to clean energy in history, by setting a goal to deploy three gigawatts of renewable energy, including solar, wind, biomass or geothermal on Army, Navy and Air Force installations by 2025. Siemens Government Technologies, Inc., the prime contractor, along with partners AECOM and Bechtel, have been awarded four contracts to help the U.S. Army meet its goal of one gigawatt of that total — enough energy to power 250,000 homes.

The Army has taken the important steps of forming the Senior Energy and Sustainability Council and issuing the Army Sustainability Campaign Plan. Together, these establish the framework that is required to bring about top-to-bottom change in an organisation and identify sustainability as a unifying goal that prioritises and guides future action. In short, the American Army is leading a cultural revolution.

It has also implemented large-scale projects such as Army Net Zero, which aims to demonstrate that sprawling, complex facilities can be taken off the grid and meet net zero standards for energy, water, and/or waste. It has also launched the Energy Initiatives Task Force back in 2011 and is an office staffed with specialists whose mission it is to relieve base commanders from the administrative burden of getting utility-scale solar power and other alternative energy installed at Army facilities

Interestingly, the U.S. Army’s Sustainability Report 2012 is candid around the issue of global warming. From the start, it states “rising demand for scarce resources, increasing regional unrest and the effects of climate change are just some of the trends that will affect our future security environment.” In this context, the report lays out a long-term national defence strategy grounded in energy conservation, alternative energy, water conservation and sustainable waste management. While clearly focused on military goals, the report is not shy about identifying environmental sustainability with fundamental human welfare.

Globally, each nation must learn that in the coming decades that it will need to relook at its military operating systems. By mid-century, the armed forces of many countries will have specialised in helping their economies and societies adapt to natural disasters, particularly, those caused by advancing climate change. 

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