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Army aims to boost renewable energy at posts

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WASHINGTON — Still burdened with rising energy costs at installations, the Army has announced a stepped-up effort to boost alternative sources of power.

Army Secretary John M. McHugh said last week he is creating a task force to coordinate large-scale alternative energy projects throughout the Army.

Even with a round of base closures about to finish, the Army’s energy costs remain a challenge just as the military is looking for ways to save money. Increased energy security concerns and strict federal renewable energy mandates also are at play.

“Addressing our energy security needs is operationally necessary, fiscally prudent and vital to mission accomplishment,” Mr. McHugh said in a news release.

The exact impact at Fort Drum is hard to predict at this point, said a spokeswoman at the post, Julie A. Cupernall. But the post is the site of a likely Army Corps of Engineers wind-energy program, and officials are looking at additional uses of wind turbines as well.

In addition, homes being built and renovated in response to the 10th Mountain division’s expansion have been designed to meet new energy efficiency standards.

Energy costs have been a problem at Fort Drum for some years, owing to the climate and the older infrastructure, and raised concerns during past base closure rounds. But the Army has since made many improvements.

Still, renewable energy projects at installations lack expertise that the new task force can provide, the Army said.

The Army aims to obtain 25 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2025 and projects spending $7.1 billion on the effort during next decade. To meet the goal, the Army “must use every opportunity to be energy efficient and draw power from alternative and/or renewable energy sources,” Mr. McHugh said.

The projects would generate about 2.1 million megawatts of electricity annually, the Army estimates.

The new task force will be fully operational by Sept. 15, the Army said.

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