On Dec. 15, Rear Adm. John Fuller, commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, plans to present the Fiscal Year 2015 MIDPAC Energy Conservation Award to USS Preble (DDG 88).
Preble achieved a 19 percent reduction in electricity consumption below the MIDPAC guided-missile destroyer baseline. While operating forward, Preble consumed fuel at a rate of 23 percent below the DDG-class average. The ship is authorized to fly the MIDPAC energy conservation pennant for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2016.
Preble’s award is the latest in a number of energy milestones achieved in the past year.
Navy and Marine Corps representatives gathered last February at the Marine Corps Base Hawaii’s (MCBH) Klipper Golf Course to bless the new wave energy test site (WETS) located in the waters off North Beach. This Navy-funded project plans to utilize wave power devices to extract energy from the surface-motion of ocean waves or from pressure fluctuations below the surface.
In September, the Fred Olsen Lifesaver wave energy converter (WEC) received a special Hawaiian blessing at Kilo Pier at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH). The Lifesaver, considered one of the most sophisticated WECs on the market today, was developed in Norway by Fred Olsen Renewables and is deployed for offshore testing at the MCBH WETS site.
April saw the Navy celebrating Earth Day and promoting environmental awareness. Several events were held, including a special Pearl Harbor Colors focusing on Earth Day. Pearl Harbor Colors is an honors and heritage ceremony held monthly at the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument.
At the April 23 ceremony, Lt. Cmdr. Rob Franklin, operations officer for Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, spoke about the Navy’s efforts to contribute to a more sustainable environment.
“In alignment with the Department of the Navy’s 2015 Earth Day theme, ‘A Sustainable Future Begins With You,’ our Sailors ashore and afloat are acting in innovative ways, taking ownership of efforts to conserve resources, shift to renewable energy, minimize hazardous waste, and recycle,” said Franklin.
“One of the five goals is to demonstrate and then deploy a ‘Great Green Fleet,’ which will include ships and aircraft using alternative sources of energy and utilizing multiple energy conservation measures as part of their regular, scheduled deployments through the calendar year in 2016. ‘The ‘Great Green Fleet’ represents the new normal, where our Navy values energy as a strategic resource, maximizing energy efficiencies and cultivating multiple sources of alternative energy,” Franklin said.
October was Navy Energy Action Month, and Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Hawaii marked the occasion by hosting action fair and training sessions for Navy, Air Force and civilian building energy monitors (BEMs) at the Ford Island Conference Center, JBPHH. At the event, Katie Ramirez, NAVFAC Hawaii energy team member and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH) installation energy manager, talked about the Navy’s goal of reducing energy consumption by 50 percent by 2020.
“This is a very ambitious set of goals that will take everyone’s participation,” she said. “Imagine if you had to cut your home energy bill in half. You would have to make some pretty drastic changes in the way you live. That’s what will need to be done here at work with everyone adjusting their behavior on how they get the job done, cutting the Navy’s energy use in half.”
Many of the strides the Navy made in 2015 were the result of ongoing projects.
For example, the move toward solar energy continues. In summer 2014, Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus, along with Navy and Marine Corps senior leaders, announced the launch of the Navy’s largest solar power generation system project in Hawaii during a ground-breaking and blessing ceremony at Hospital Point, JBPHH. Waipio, Marine Corps Base Hawaii and Camp Smith are all to be part of the project.
“This is a large project with 10 rooftop photo-voltaic systems and four ground-based or elevated systems, built on three different bases,” said Mabus. “In the first year alone, we expect that these systems will save the taxpayers $1.6 million. That’s the equivalent of the electricity that can be generated from 54,000 barrels of oil here in Hawaii. It’s the amount of electricity needed to power more than 5,000 average homes here, and that’s just in the first year. This program will be generating those savings for decades. The work we are doing here will serve as a model for other projects around the world.”
The Navy also continues to work to further incorporate light-emitting diodes (LED) lighting on-board ships. LEDs reduce energy consumption, protect the environment and save money. In 2011, Pearl Harbor’s own USS Chafee (DDG 90) became the first U.S. Navy ship to be fitted with all-LED lighting.
One of JBPHH’s most iconic sites uses LED lights as well. When the 76-year old water tower, dubbed the “Freedom Tower,” is lit up for the holidays on Dec. 11, it will be with LED lights. The tower first switched to LEDs in 2014.
It isn’t just the operational side that is working toward more responsible energy usage. Housing is a major part of the Navy’s “green” vision as well.
“The residents living in Forest City Navy public-private venture housing continue to conserve electricity and support the Navy Resident Energy Conservation Program (RECP),” said Darryl Nii, Navy Region Hawaii Resident Energy Conservation Program (RECP) coordinator.
“Since RECP was implemented in January 2011 through September 2015, residents conserved over 51.4 million kilowatt hours which equates to over $18 million. This savings was used to cover the rising cost of utilities, pay for operating costs, and make deposits into important project reserve accounts that will fund re-capitalization projects as the homes and neighborhoods need upgrades and replacements,” Nii said.
Forest City continues to participate in the “Know Load” program, a program designed to help residents know the energy load their homes are carrying and to help them conserve electricity and lower their monthly electric bills.
A major future project is 2016’s Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC). While the world’s largest international maritime exercise is still more than six months away, plans are already underway to make it the “greenest” RIMPAC yet.
During 2012’s RIMPAC, the Navy demonstrated what is known as the “Great Green Fleet” by operating a carrier strike group’s surface ships and aircraft with a biofuel blend. The demonstration successfully evaluated the performance of “drop-in replacement” advanced biofuel blends and certain energy efficient technologies in an operational setting. All systems performed at full capacity.
The Navy plans for bio-fuels to comprise up to 50 percent of the fuel used by deploying ships and aircraft throughout the fleet in calendar year 2016. Many or most of the ships and aircraft participating in RIMPAC 2016 will likely be utilizing biofuels.
Article originally appeared in Ho`okele.