By Dennis McGinn and Robert Weisenmiller
Strength in numbers is a time-tested military maxim and today it is the cornerstone of a relationship between the Department of the Navy and the State of California, led by the California Energy Commission, to boost energy security with renewable power.
California and the Department of the Navy, including the Navy and the Marine Corps, are both committed to achieving aggressive goals related to energy resiliency, energy efficiency, alternative energy and greenhouse gas reductions. Renewables also help the Navy transform its energy use to increase mission capability and operational flexibility. Overall, all of California benefits through lower energy costs, more reliable energy supply and a cleaner environment.
This partnership continues California’s leadership in energy and the environment. Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. recently signed Senate Bill 32, which requires California reduce greenhouse gas emissions at least 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. Last October, Governor Brown signed SB 350 to double the rate of energy efficiency savings in California buildings and generate half of the state’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030.
The Department of the Navy recognizes that power is critical to its ability to fulfill its mission to provide global presence. In 2009, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus set aggressive goals for the Navy and Marine Corps that include the production of at least 50 percent of shore-based power from alternative sources by 2020, cutting petroleum use in the commercial vehicle fleet on our installations by half, and ensuring that energy impacts are considered in the acquisition process.
The 14 Department of the Navy installations in California play a critical role in operations, maintaining the fleet, training expeditionary forces, and providing support to Sailors and Marines around the world. Two years ago, in partnership with the State of California, the Navy resolved to showcase how the installations could better achieve Navy energy goals and improve mission readiness.
Last month, in collaboration with state agencies, the Department of the Navy announced a lease for 205 electric vehicles (EVs), to be used at the bases in the state. The EVs play a key role in a new model of mobility the Navy and Marine Corp are building – a model that optimizes fleet use and reduces petroleum consumption in the commercial fleet.
The Navy is also improving resource management. At Naval Base Ventura County, the Navy is testing a new cleaning process for Kevlar vests and other bulky, otherwise hard to clean gear that uses less energy and could save 60 million gallons of water per year. If the system works as expected, the process will benefit California, as it battles drought.
Our relationship is proof that working in tandem and sharing best practices is an effective way to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels and increase energy efficiency. Our collaboration will help us achieve our respective goals and create a model for other jurisdictions that seek solutions to challenging energy problems.
Dennis V. McGinn is the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations and Environment and Robert B. Weisenmiller is the Chair of the California Energy Commission.
The two signed a memorandum of understanding on October 12 at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University that will help the state and the Navy and Marine Corps continue to operate on the cutting edge of technology by pursuing innovative renewable energy initiatives. The agreement formalized a partnership that supports Navy and Marine Corps installation efforts to develop alternative energy resources and increase energy security and reliability.