Energy symposium focuses on awareness, conservation
By Airman 1st Class Michael Ellis, 6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
/ Published October 30, 2012
MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Representatives from the Air Force, Army and Navy along with Department of Defense civilian engineers met in downtown Tampa Oct. 4 to discuss future goals for renewable energy sources.
The symposium was one of several gatherings, as military installations across the globe focuse on energy awareness and conservation during the month of October.
The annual integrated symposium fosters business opportunities and increases market interest, which boosts competition for more reliable energy sources, said Col. James Hodges, 6th Mission Support Group commander at MacDill and this year's spokesman on Air Force initiatives.
Hodges explained why the subject of conservation is important and personal for him.
"In the DoD, the Air Force is the biggest user... In the Air Force, the Air Mobility Command is the biggest user (due to its mission of airlift, contingency response and air refueling)... In AMC, MacDill ranks number one," said Hodges.
As commander of the mission support group, Hodges oversees both engineering and contracting departments at MacDill which are tasked with cutting energy consumption.
The biggest user at MacDill, U.S. Central Command, is responsible for operations in Central Asia and for the last decade has been a pivotal part of the fight against terrorism.
With the war tempo diminishing and budget talks remaining at the forefront of military operations, CENTCOM representatives recently drafted a plan to reduce energy consumption, said Hodges.
Hodges also spoke on how the Air Force spent $9.7 billion in fuel and electricity last year. While it is a large number, it's a 4 percent decrease since 2006, amassing $165 million in savings despite cost being up 32 percent since 2003.
The Air Force will continue to strive toward becoming more environmentally friendly by "reducing demand, increasing supply and changing our culture," said Hodges.
Part of cultural change involves investing for the future. At MacDill, more than $2 million was invested in an updated metering system.
"This will allow us to monitor and track overages -- so we can identify and replace inefficiencies," said Hodges.
The Air Force also took the initiative to invest in smart metering, reduce facility energy usage by 20 percent by 2020, obtain 400 million gallons of alternative fuels by 2016 (currently there are 1.3 million gallons purchased) and increase renewable sources by 6 percent.