Army announces new renewable energy task force

The Army has big plans for renewable energy.

Army Secretary John McHugh on Wednesday announced the creation of a new entity to manage the development of large-scale renewable energy projects. The Energy Initiatives Office Task Force will help the service meet its goal of using 25 percent renewable energy by 2025 -- a target that will require at least $7.1 billion in investments over the next 10 years. The task force will be responsible for finding private sector investors.

"We have to attract private investors to utilize Army land to build cost-effective, large-scale renewable projects," said Jonathan Powers, special adviser on energy in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army.

The task force, based out of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment, will present projects to investors after doing background environmental research and share its research process to ensure transparency. Teams of energy experts then will travel to various Army installations to implement large-scale projects. Nearly 20 projects already are in line for consideration.

Powers described the task force as a new way for the Army to approach energy operations. Previously, efforts were decentralized.

"It's a one-stop shop to streamline and bring the expertise into one area," Powers said.

While the Army is not hiring more people for endeavor, six staffers will be assigned to work on the task force full time. The group also will receive support -- in the form of personnel and expertise -- from the Energy Department.

"The Energy Initiatives Office Task Force will help the Army build resilience through renewable energy while streamlining our business practices so developers can invest in and build an economically viable, large-scale renewable energy infrastructure," McHugh said in a press release. "Addressing our energy security needs is operationally necessary, fiscally prudent and vital to mission accomplishment."

The EIO Task Force will be fully up and running by Sept. 15.

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