Future of Air Force energy discussed at industry forum

  • Published
  • By Eduardo Salinas
  • Air Force Real Property Agency Public Affairs
Air Force officials announced their intent to lease underutilized Air Force property and apply other tools to attract the support of private industry for energy projects at installations during an industry forum in September in Ontario, Calif.

The Air Force Enhanced Use Lease Energy Industry Forum brought over 170 representatives from private industry, the Federal government, state regulatory agencies, and the Department of Defense together to hear about the Air Force's opportunities for commercial energy development.

Air Force leaders discussed the service's energy strategy and highlighted potential opportunities for projects capable of generating energy at Air Force bases throughout the country, including potential commercial grade utility scale solar energy projects at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., Kirtland AFB, N.M., and Luke AFB, Ariz.

In addition to Air Force presenters, speakers from state regulatory agencies, such as the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission, the California Energy Commission, and private industry, were on hand to give their perspectives on energy development.

Attendees were also given the opportunity to provide their input on potential projects to help shape the future of the Air Force's energy initiatives.

"We are looking to partner with local communities, venture capitalists, original equipment manufacturers and operators to bring concept to reality," said William C. Anderson, the assistant secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment and Logistics and the Air Force's senior energy executive, in his video greeting presented at the beginning of the forum.

As the Federal government's largest energy consumer, the Air Force has made energy a top national security priority. In its effort to meet President Bush's challenge to wean the nation off foreign energy supplies, the Air Force is exploring ways to advance the use of alternative energy sources and accelerate conservation efforts.

"We are working to incorporate new energy initiatives and programs at every installation, and we want to incorporate alternative energy and energy conservation everywhere it makes sense for the military and the civilian community," said Kevin Billings, the deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for Environment, Safety and Occupational Health.

Energy projects are the latest to be explored through the Air Force's Enhanced Use Lease, or EUL program, which builds partnerships between the military and private industry by leasing underutilized military assets to private entities for development.

"Enhanced use leases are win-win scenarios for all involved," said Katie Halvorson, the director of the Air Force Real Property Agency, which oversees the Air Force EUL program. "Private industry benefits because they gain access to underutilized military property for development. The Air Force also benefits because it unlocks the value of its underutilized property, which can be used to support the warfighter."

The effort to initiate energy projects through the EUL program is part of a larger Air Force-wide energy strategy that aims to reduce demand and increase supply of energy resources as well as drive change in Air Force culture regarding energy consumption and conservation.

"We in the Air Force believe we can and should play a key role in addressing the President's challenge to wean this country off it's addiction to foreign oil," said Mr. Anderson.

Briefings and other information presented at the forums are available at https://www.enstg.com/Signup (please use conference code REN96690).

For general information on the Air Force EUL program, please visit http://www.safie.hq.af.mil/afrpa/eul.