Monday, January 2, 2012

As in Birth Control.......Energy Predictions for 2012

This is the follow up to yesterday's on.

In 2012, The Army will press forward with its USACE IDIQ plan supported by the Energy Initiative Task Force. The RFP is expected in early 2012 with an award in 2013.  In the interim the TF still will have to support other energy efforts, so 2012 will be the year of the wildcat energy project.  Although the EITF has not embraced the 5th fuel in its mandate, conservation continues to be the cheapest, safest, cleanest and most secure way to energy security.  Entrepreneurs and installations that understand UESCs and ESPCs will have a chance to steal a march ahead of the big IDIQ which will corral all future Army energy production efforts.  My sincere hope is that it will accelerate the process, but I have seen bureaucracies in action, or inaction.

The Air Force and the Navy will press ahead with alternative fuels with the USAF going after Jet – A as substitute for JP8 in CONUS. Has DLA-E lost the single fuel on the battlefield fight? When I checked with my liquid fuels experts, I got this response:
“There was a study done by an AF grad student that shows that Jet A will cost more.  Why?  JP-8 is more expense than commercial jet because it's made in small batches.  With only some aircraft converting to Jet A the batches of JP-8 get smaller so the price of JP-8 goes up.  Not all aircraft can fly on Jet A.  None of the studies justifying Jet A looked at the secondary effects.  The AFIT study was squashed by the AFPET/CC.  The AFIT Professor/student advisor and the AFPET/CC almost came to blows over this.”    
Second and third order effects in the energy world rarely get the visibility they should.

The USN will continue to look for new and sustainable substitutes for the various JPs they use.  Installation efforts by both will continue to be decentralized and no mandates will be issued to the base level.  I will be watching NAVFAC Southwest where a number of innovative base energy efforts have been undertaken.
Operational Energy continues to chug along with most people talking while the USMC attacks.  Not only did they get GREENS into the acquisition pipeline, they are using Smart Power to influence their local environment.  Check out this USMC effort in the Helmand Province.   The USD, OEPP was supposed to galvanize the operational energy effort, but it appears they are still building consensus with the Services.   The office published its strategy in June 11 with the promise of an implementation plan 90 days later.  In November I asked when  the implementation plan would be published.  I was passed off to the OSD PAO who informed me that:
"The Implementation Plan was released internally to the Defense Department in mid-September and we have already begun action on the initiatives outlined in the Plan. However, as with many other high-level documents of this nature, additional time was needed for full internal coordination with all relevant stakeholders in the Department before the document could be released publicly. Congressional and public release will occur upon completion of internal coordination."
We are still waiting.  They have staffed their office in Afghanistan with some well-seasoned energy hands so I look for some progress out forward.

The Army handed off operational energy to the Rapid Equipping Force (again), but has since placed staff responsibility firmly with the Army G4.  The folks in the G4 Logistics Innovation Agency seem to be leading the charge there.

Generally, we will see the importance of operational energy diminish over the coming year as the Services focus on redeployment and a shrinking budget.  As the Department draws down from 10 years of continuous combat and watches budgets shrink and sequester,  their plans to use OPM (other people’s money) to reduce demand and increase renewables will pay dividends.  It will be one place where they can point to doing something positive for the troops while saving money and, in some cases, turning a profit.  The various organizations focused solely on energy will face pressures to reduce their size even as they are moving from the planning phase into execution.  The ones that can point to a positive balance sheet will retain their jobs.  This will be a lucrative market, but an unforgiving one.  The Authorities are clear, the Responsibilities less so and Accountability is none existent.   It will be left up to individuals to do the right thing for no other reason than it is the right thing.  People change for one of two reasons: overwhelming threat or overwhelming opportunity.  Otherwise they just do the status quo.  Without reward or penalty, energy security is based upon hope today.  I hope I am wrong.  Dan Nolan


LW said...

It also concerns me that the potential of energy conservation is not being realized. Unfortunately, I suspect that this is because energy management and renewable energy development, which should be complementary objectives, are actually competing with each other for resources. This will be the case as long as renewable energy remains unable to directly contribute to energy conservation goals; right now, I believe that renewable installations only count towards a "reduction" in energy consumption if the environmental attributes are retained by the customer. Even if I'm wrong about that one, renewable energy development is inherently a time-intensive process. The Army, for example, established a 7.5% renewable goal in 2005; in 2009 they were at 2.1% and the Army Energy Program website hasn’t even been updated since then. The 2-4 years + it will likely take to work through an RFP process as large as the USACE IDIQ plan dictates may meet the 2025 goal, but it will not meet the 2013 goal and more importantly is likely diverting resources from the 30%/2015 energy conservation goal (as of 2009, the Army is only at 7.2%). Moreover, energy conservation is cheaper and provides a faster ROI. Even developing metrics and energy management tools is a quicker path to returns than bureaucracy-as-usual renewable projects. I don’t think the DOD should scrap renewables altogether—in another 5 or 10 years, their time will come. But it’s going to take that long, given the present energy market, to get a project off the ground anyway. Meanwhile why not focus efforts on energy conservation? The time for that is now.

Dan Nolan said...

From Dan Nolan:
These three points are from another fuels expert who I hold in very high regard. Worth considering.

1. Additized Jet A only has two substantive differences from JP8: a different (higher) freeze point and no anti-oxidant (AO). AO is required for JP8 produced via hydro processed refining. The 7 C degree higher freeze point for Jet A over JP8 has been determined by all Services to not be a concern. The AO issue only becomes a "problem" with severally aged fuel; you don't start to see peroxides develop for about 3 years. For the most part this means we just won't put into any of our APS fleets otherwise we turn fuel much quicker than 3 years.

2. Jet A (un additized) is routinely used by ALL DOD aircraft. Any DOD aircraft transiting a commercial airport gets JET A, sure there are few platforms that this doesn't apply too but the U2 doesn't burn JP8 anyway: AH64s, UH60s, F16's, C-12s, C130's, problem. Regarding cost, your source is completely wrong, today Jet A is 3 to 8 cents cheaper than JP8 for just the product costs when larger conversion of the CONUS supply chain takes place there will be further efficiencies achieved in non-product costs reducing transportation, storage and handling costs for DOD.

3. Using Jet A in CONUS doesn't impact single fuel on the battlefield. We are not going to use additized Jet A OCONUS, OCONUS you principle find Jet A1 and guess what JP8 is essentially additized JetA1, so no real difference OCONUS. Plus there is not a problem using additized Jet A (SDA, CI and FSII) here and then using JP8 forward. So deploying an M1 with half a tank of additized Jet A and then putting JP8 on top of it once deployed into a theater of operation operating under single fuel on the battlefield policy, no problem. This is done today, when a UH60 departs say Ft Riley with a full load of JP8 on its way to NTC, it could stop at Denver International refuel, get Jet A and then land at Ft Irwin and take on JP8, no problem

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