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DoD Mobilizes to Mitigate California Power Shortage

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 4, 2001 – Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld announced plans May 3 to cut DoD's peak power usage in California to help mitigate that state's growing energy shortage.

Rumsfeld directed DoD installations in California to decrease their peak power draw from state commercial electricity grids through conservation, energy efficiency investments and power generation, department officials said.

The secretary's actions follow initiatives announced earlier by President Bush to involve federal organizations in assisting California's search for more electric power.

"The situation in California and the surrounding states demands the full attention of all electricity consumers, public and private," Rumsfeld said. "We intend to do our part to mitigate the electricity shortage." He noted DoD is one of California's larger consumers of electricity even though its draw represents only 1 percent of the state's peak load.

Rumsfeld said he wants DoD's peak-hour electricity consumption in California this summer reduced by 10 percent from a year ago and by another average 15 percent by summer 2002.

The Defense Department will invest more than $50 million over the next two years as part of energy-saving initiatives in California, Ray DuBois, deputy undersecretary of defense for installations and environment, said at a May 3 Pentagon press briefing. The investment will leverage over $290 million in private- sector spending on energy-saving projects in the state, he said.

Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz remarked May 3 at the White House that DoD's conservation efforts in California would essentially provide the state with the energy equivalent of a 200-megawatt power plant.

DuBois said electricity generation at two DoD-operated natural gas power plants in California would be stepped up, pending state approval, to help alleviate the state's power shortage. DoD-owned diesel mobile power generators in the state, however, won't be used to provide more power, he added.

DoD's efforts in California, he added, would eventually bring $25 million in annual savings, which will be used for energy programs, and housing and quality of life projects.

Rumsfeld noted the Defense Department has achieved considerable energy savings over the years, having decreased energy consumed per square foot in its buildings nationwide by 23 percent since 1985.

"This success story, however, makes the new power reduction initiative all the more difficult, since the less difficult solutions have been implemented already," he said. "The services will need to be more innovative, aggressive and tenacious to meet our goals in California."

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Related Sites:
DoD News Release, May 3, 2001: Defense Unveils Plan to Reduce Energy Demand in California
DoD News Briefing, May 3, 2001: Mr. Ray DuBois, DUSD (Installations and Environment)

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