By Thea Skinner
21st Space Wing Public Affairs
The 21st Space Wing is becoming more involved in the push toward energy independence through a Pikes Peak regional collaborative to develop renewable energy.
As part of the Regional Utilities Working Group, the 21st Civil Engineer Squadron is partnering with the joint and coalition team to win the fight against the energy crisis.
“We are looking at the potential for large scale solar projects in the Front Range area and how the federal bases can participate,” said Dave Clapp, 21st CES deputy base civil engineer and working group member. “[It’s] a joint effort on energy saving performance contracts, a facility energy audit team to go to bases and audit energy, and to develop commission projects by looking at an existing building to increase efficiency.”
A lot of projects are in the “what if” stage as far as bringing money to the regional market, Mr. Clapp said.
Fueled by the emerging Colorado new energy economy and coined by Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter, Air Force and military leaders aim to supply renewable energy to the state utility grid system with the assistance of contracted personnel.
Mr. Clapp thinks that solar power is the most efficient energy form to harness in the region. Initial indications point toward the Air Force Academy as the prospective site for a solar initiative.
“The only way we can produce energy is a large scale solar project, a mega project big enough to supply most installations in town, enough to meet the renewable energy goals,” Mr. Clapp said. “Everything we can do to decrease our needs will allow the base, the state, and the country to reduce their needs on foreign energy as well as become more economically viable.”
The renewable energy initiatives are partly born out of the 2008 United States Air Force Infrastructure Energy Strategic Plan. This plan calls for reducing facility energy use, base water, and fossil fuel consumption while increasing renewable energy and alternative fuels. The plan maps the way toward a 30-percent reduction in energy intensity by 2015, including specific annual targets.
Created in late 2008, the Regional Utilities Working Group evaluates and initiates programs that are worked collectively amongst Air Force bases and other entities to meet federal mandates and environmental executive orders on the renewable energy front. The group presently consists of about 30 members throughout the state from Pueblo to Denver.