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News Release


Release No: 195-01
May 03, 2001


Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld announced today an initiative to reduce the Department of Defense (DoD) peak electricity demand in California. The Services have developed plans that will decrease their peak power demand from the California commercial electricity grid by a combination of energy conservation, energy efficiency investments and power generation.

"The situation in California and the surrounding states demands the full attention of all electricity consumers, public and private. Although the Department represents only one percent of California's peak load, as one of its largest consumers of electricity, we intend to do our part to mitigate the electricity shortage," said Rumsfeld.

The goals for this initiative are: by summer 2001 to achieve an average reduction of 10 percent in total electricity load from the commercial power grid during California peak demand hours from a July 2000 baseline; and by summer 2002 to achieve an average ongoing reduction of 15 percent in electricity load from the commercial power grid during California peak demand hours from a July 2000 baseline. Ultimately, this initiative will make more than 200-megawatts of additional power available to other customers in the western power grid.

This initiative augments ongoing energy conservation efforts within the Department that have resulted in a 23 percent decrease in energy consumed per square foot in DoD buildings nationwide since 1985. "The Services have been resolute in reducing their energy consumption over the years. These savings have been spent on readiness and quality of life, and improving the environment," said Rumsfeld. "This success story, however, makes the new power reduction initiative all the more difficult, since the less difficult solutions have been implemented already. The Services will need to be innovative, aggressive and tenacious to meet our goals for California."

To achieve these goals, the Department will redirect $32 million in fiscal 2001 to implement the Services' demand reduction and power generation plans, and for investments such as lighting upgrades, updated controls, improvements to heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, and installation of demand meters, to meet later goals. An additional $19 million will be added to the fiscal 2002 budget to achieve fully the initiative's long-term goals.

"The Services have pulled out all stops in developing innovative strategies to meet these goals," said Ray DuBois, deputy under secretary of Defense for installations and environment. "Some measures include hiring specialists to develop regional peak load reduction strategies, such as integrated schedules for high power-consuming equipment, and installing thermal energy storage units to shift the cooling load to off-peak times."

Non-fossil fuel generation plays an important role in the Services' plans including wind power, fuel cells and photovoltaic arrays. "One of the more innovative concepts involves buying power from the owner of an existing wind generation plant located adjacent to a military base who has been unable to sell power to the commercial grid economically because of high transmission and distribution charges," said DuBois.

While implementing this initiative will cost DoD additional money up front, these investments in energy efficiency and demand reduction are sound business decisions. The more than $50 million DoD investment will leverage almost $290 million in private sector investment for infrastructure improvements and generation capability, and will ultimately yield annual energy cost savings in excess of $25 million. Future savings will pay back initial investments, be used for additional energy savings measures and housing and quality of life upgrades.

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