Large amounts of the fossil fuel consumed during operations is used for electrical power generation in Deployed Force Infrastructure (DFI). Demand is rapidly increasing, due to more and more energy-greedy equipment, and an increase in the energy requirements to establish the personal living requirements for individuals and equipment (computers, mobiles, heating and cooling…); all this combined with an increase in the duration of operations.
Notwithstanding the operational, logistical, financial and environmental issues associated with the increase in energy requirements is an impact on the force itself and a real “cost in blood”.
A known problematic
Already in November 2009 a study released by Deloitte Analysis provided a direct relationship between the total US casualties in Afghanistan and the amount of fuel consumed.
Besides national projects and studies, multinational initiatives have emerged over the last few years to encourage the exchange of information:
In February 2011 the Quadrilateral Logistic Forum (Australia, UK, USA and Canada) established the Energy Working Group with an objective to investigate and recommend innovative methods to the provision of alternative energy on Deployed Operating Bases.
In November 2011 in Vilnius the Lithuanian Energy Security Centre organised the conference and exhibition “Innovative Energy Solutions for Military Applications 2011” with the NATO’s Emerging Security Challenges Division (ESCD) and Ukraine.
In December 2011 the “Information Exchange Seminar”, annually organised by the MILENG COE, was dedicated to “Sustainable camps and Green Energy”.
Other initiatives have also emerged, in particular the “Sustainable Military Compounds (SMC) – Towards a Zero Footprint Compound” Workshop in May 2012, and the Smart Energy Team (SENT), approved in November 2012, both supported by the NATO Science for Peace and Security Programme.
A need for an official frame
On 14 February 2012 the Logistics Committee stated that “to date, no NATO policy with regard to Alternative Operational Energy solutions for base camps have been developed” and subsequently invited the NATO Senior Joint Engineer Conference (NSJEC) to develop such a policy for power generation for base camps.
With a DOTMLPFI approach, the MILENG COE started gathering existing national and multinational documentation in order to define the frame of the study, the existing technical and organizational solutions and the avenues for further reflection. It was through a fruitful exchange of information and very positive feedback from its national and multinational points of contact that the MILENG COE could report on its study results to the MILENG Working Group. As such, in January 2013 a memorandum of findings stating that in addition to alternative energy sources, improved technical solutions, and the smart use of existing resources and equipment there is the potential to substantially reduce energy consumption for DFI. Led by the MILENG WG and with the MILENG COE as permanent active core, a team, composed of representatives from SHAPE, SMC and ENSEC COE, in cooperation with SENT, worked to develop the policy for power generation for DFI. Invited to attend the last MILENG WG meeting (June 2013), the ENSEC COE provided expertise, an added value key to achieving the final draft of the policy.
In October 2013 the power generation policy is presented for endorsement to NSJEC, and is aggreed on.
Key principles and way ahead
Every camp varies in location, climate, function, force structure, concept of operations and the phase of the operation. To improve energy efficiency, the main principles to be considered are modularity, interoperability and sustainability, whether for equipment, infrastructure or resources.
To successfully implement these principles, it is necessary to adopt a holistic approach, including power generation and management (planning, multi-energy and multi-size systems, micro-grids…), infrastructure design and management (insulation, low energy equipment, heating, ventilation and air conditioning design and control …), and command and control, training and awareness (instilling a true "energy conservation ethos" from commanders to soldiers).
In accordance with the Connected Forces Initiative (CFI), nations should continue to engage academia and industry to identify additional potential energy saving solutions suitable for military use, taking into account interoperability and standardization. They should exchange information, lessons learned and outcomes, using all the enablers and stakeholders, in order to improve standardized doctrine and equipment on power generation.
Accredited since October 2012 as NATO Energy Security Centre of Excellence (ENSEC COE), providing comprehensive and timely expertise on aspects of energy security
SMC aims, inter alia, to develop a concept model including more efficient power generation
SENT fulfils the role of a steering group to advance the topic of energy efficiency and effectiveness in the military
Doctrine, Organization, Training, Material, Leadership and education, Personnel, Facilities and Interoperability
To improve NATO interoperability, the MILENG WG advises the Military Committee through the Military Committee Land Standardization Board (MCLSB) on Engineering topics and issues and provides direct support to the NATO Army Armaments Group