WASH DC, JUNE 2, 2015 – If you want to see how power can be used as a weapon — fuel, energy can be used as a weapon, just read about what Russia did going into Crimea or what Russia’s doing to the Ukraine today.
Read what Russia’s doing to Europe today about their oil and gas supplies. And my notion was we shouldn’t have that — that weapon turned against us.
And so, in 2009, I came up with goals for the Navy and the biggest one of which was that by no later than 2020 at least half of all our energy would come from non-fossil fuel sources to have a more stable supply and a more stable price for — for those supplies. We’re going to be there by the end of this year in terms of our shore bases. And we’re saving money doing it.
And next we’re going to start working on micro grids so that we can pull ourselves off the grid if something happens to the commercial grid, we can pull ourselves off so we can still do our — our military job.
FUEL ON DEMAND
The — and we’re not only changing the type of fuel we’re using, we’re also using less of it and we’re making — we’re trying to make fuel where we are. And the reason for that is, in Afghanistan, for example, the Marines at the height of the fighting were losing one Marine killed or wounded for every 50 convoys of fuel we brought in to that country. And so, if you can make fuel where you are, we gave Marines in Sangeet (ph), 2nd Battalion 5th Marines, at the height of the fighting there, some solar blankets. They’re about this big, you roll them up, you stick them in your pack, and you power your radios, your GPSs off of those. It saved a company of Marines 700 pounds that they didn’t have to — have to carry. And it also meant they didn’t have to be resupplied.
We’ve got SEAL teams now that are getting close to net zero in terms of both energy and water that they can stay out for a long, long time. But we’re also using less energy.
A chief in 2003 made the recommendation, and it took until last year for this to be put into effect, change the light bulbs on ships. We’re doing that now. By changing the light bulbs from incandescent to LEDs saves about 3 percent of the total energy of that ship.
We’re doing that, we’re doing things like call (ph) codings and stern flaps. We’re doing voyage planning, and we’re using significantly less energy. We’re building hybrid ships, electric drives for speeds under 12 knots, Marine diesel for speeds over 12 knots, and, because of that, the first one of these ships we built, which is the Mackin Island, a big deck amphib, after its first deployment, it brought almost half of its fuel budget home with it.
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