Energy professionals exchange ideas, information at annual event

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- More than 2,600 professionals from the energy industry, including approximately 200 Air Force attendees, gathered in Tampa, Florida, Aug. 14-18 for the U.S. Department of Energy Federal Energy Management Program’s 2017 Energy Exchange.

This year’s topics included energy resilience, cybersecurity, emerging energy technologies, policy direction, third-party financing options for projects and best practices from industry and the Department of Defense.

This three-day industry event, supplemented by an additional day-and-a-half of Air Force specific content, featured senior leaders from Air Force Energy, the Office of Energy Assurance and the Air Force Civil Engineer Center’s Energy Directorate. Attendees heard from Acting Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment and Energy Richard Hartley, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Environment, Safety and Infrastructure Mark Correll, Deputy Director of Civil Engineers, Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Engineering and Force Protection Ed Oshiba, AFCEC Director Randy Brown and the OEA Executive Director Bob Hughes.

Each leader gave their unique perspective on the state of Air Force energy and answered questions from attendees.

During a Department of Defense session, Hartley emphasized the importance of reliable energy to critical Air Force missions.

“Our critical missions, for the most part, rely on electricity from the U.S. grid,” said Hartley. “Because we’re so dependent on this energy to support our critical missions and face a growing cyber thread, physical threat, and even national disaster threat to the grid, we’ve really put a heavy emphasis on what we call ‘protect the power’ at our bases and installations. This is what really drives our strategic vision for Air Force energy, ‘enhancing mission assurance through energy assurance.’”

Air Force attendees were given the opportunity to provide feedback via survey, and results for this year’s event have been positive.

“The event was a rousing success,” said Robert Gill, director of AFCEC’s Energy Directorate. “We had the right people and the right topics. It truly was a banner event.”

The 2018 Energy Exchange is planned in Cleveland, Ohio.