Renewable EnergyThe Air Force is taking advantage of opportunities to incorporate renewable energy on its installations. In fiscal 2017, the Air Force had approximately 340 renewable energy projects on 106 sites either in operation or under construction.

AF Blended Rates for RE Dev

The Air Force is the Department of Defense leader in renewable energy investment. The Air Force Civil Engineer Center evaluates renewable energy (RE) ideas across the Air Force. The RE team at AFCEC continually evaluates renewable resources worldwide and implements projects where viable. AFCEC has implemented a very rigorous process to evaluate the viability of RE technologies and fields projects that have economic benefit. However, in many locations the economics do not support RE development, as power can be purchased from the local utility at a lower rate and/or lifecycle cost. Solar, wind, biomass and other RE technologies are not cost effective in many locations due to the high capital costs of renewable system components, the lack of supporting infrastructure and environmental restrictions limiting development.
To assist energy companies with determining where RE projects are potentially most cost effective, the Air Force has calculated general pricing figures, or blended rates, for electric purchases by regions of the country. Complete pricing analysis may require the addition of transmission/delivery, standby and/or departing load charges. In general, the Air Force blended rate for electric power purchases ranges from $0.034/kWh to $0.16/kWh averaging $0.066/kWh at Air Force installations across the lower 48 states. This information excludes Air National Guard installations.

The table shows by region the electric power rates and average annual electricity use per installation. For a printable version  that includes a map, click here.

Renewable Energy Projects

Energy Renewable Projects

Power Purchase Agreements

Power Purchase Agreements, or PPAs, are opportunities for the Air Force to partner with private industry by creating projects spanning the range of all renewable technologies. The main component of the agreement is a utility purchase agreement where the Air Force commits to a long term purchase of all or most of the energy generated by a renewable power source. A parcel of non-excess and underutilized land is contributed to the developer for use. This land is leased and a fair market rent must be paid to the Air Force. As a long term and reliable off taker of power, the Air Force provides a committed payment stream for the energy the developer works to produce.

Selecting a Developer

When selecting a developer for a Power Purchase Agreement a competitive Request for Proposal (RFP) would be used to determine the best possible project partner for the Air Force to ensure project success. The proposals would include information on past experience and performance, planned technical solution and proposed pricing structure.

What does the Air Force look for when evaluating proposals?

-Performance record to demonstrate developer strength and experience 
-Proven defined technology use
-Thorough and strong project management plan
-Return to government with overall price of power under commercial alternate

Utility Rates Management

The Air Force has cut facility energy use 30 percent since FY94 but utility rates have increased nearly 100 percent during the same time period. The Air Force spends $1 billion a year on utilities but would be spending $1.5 billion a year if it had not put so much effort into reducing energy use.

AFCEC's Utility Rate Management Team is evaluating trends in utility usage and costs per location. The URMT has identified bases that are significantly higher than the rest and plans to focus on those outliers. The URMT considers many variables such as delivery method, base location - guard bases located at airports may pay higher rates - and wet versus dry climates. The URMT is also researching benchmark averages for utilities.

The URMT also conducts regularly scheduled utility acquisition assessments. AFCEC engineers go to each base every four years and to look at all of its utility contracts, bills and how it processes payments.

In 2013, the focus is on Texas and Florida bases. The URMT also plans to follow up with Colorado bases assessed in 2010 to find out whether its recommendations were implemented. Bases with scheduled assessments are asked to provide the current utility contract, two years worth of bills, and answer taskers sent from AFCEC to the major command.