ARLINGTON, Va.— A new website has been launched to highlight alternative energy efforts sponsored by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) in Hawaii, fast becoming ground zero for the Navy’s push to develop “green” technologies.
The Asia-Pacific Technology and Education Partnership (APTEP), now online at www.aptep.net, focuses its multifaceted approach to renewable energy on Hawaii because of the state’s abundance of reliable wind, solar, bioenergy, wave and geothermal resources.
APTEP approaches the issue from three angles, supporting cutting-edge energy research; educating students and teachers in energy-related fields; and supporting businesses trying to bring alternative energy products to the marketplace.
“Everyone is focused on Hawaii right now,” said Dr. Richard Carlin, head of ONR’s Sea Warfare and Weapons Department. “The studies we’re conducting there and technologies we’re developing will not only help the Navy reduce its need for fossil fuels, but also move the country closer to energy independence.”
Several recent developments have reaffirmed the importance of alternative energy efforts for America’s warfighters, and leaders are putting these issues front and center during October, National Energy Action Month.
The Department of Energy in September signed a memorandum of understanding reaffirming its commitment to alternative energy efforts in Hawaii, dubbed Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative 2.0. At the same time, ONR, as part of the APTEP program, is sponsoring a new study of technologies and power systems—such as smartgrids and microgrids—at three Navy installations on the islands.
“Once we figure out how to make these bases more energy efficient, we can take these new technologies and concepts to other naval bases and ultimately achieve the Navy’s energy goals,” Carlin said.
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus has set a goal for the Department of the Navy to produce or procure one gigawatt of renewable energy by December 2015, and ONR’s investments in smartgrid and microgrid technologies are intended to contribute to that goal.
“Changing the way we get and use energy is a priority for the Navy because energy security is critical to our national security,” Mabus said in 2012. “One gigawatt of renewable energy produced from sources like solar, wind, and geothermal could power a city the size of Orlando, Florida, while increasing the security and flexibility of the energy grid.”
The Navy is seeking energy security for both strategic and tactical advantages. Strategically, the goal is to reduce reliance on fossil fuels. Tactically, the Navy wants to be able to use energy sources on location and eliminate the need for long, dangerous fuel supply convoys, which have become a favorite target for enemies in Iraq and Afghanistan.
For more information on the Navy’s energy initiatives, visit http://greenfleet.dodlive.mil/energy/.
Office of Naval Research