The U.S. Navy has put an extra emphasis in going green over the past few years, from launching the biofuel-powered fighter jet 'Green Hornet' to experimenting with algae-based fuel systems for ships.
"We go where we are needed and we decisively accomplish our mission, whatever that might be," said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus during a Naval Energy Forum in McLean, Virginia Oct. 14, 2009. "We must be no less bold in our thinking when it comes to energy reform, no less willing to embrace risk."
The Navy Region Northwest, and especially Naval Station Everett, have embraced this challenge and are continuously working towards greater energy efficiency with Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) at the base level. To support these efforts, Naval Station Everett and the City of Everett held an Energy Roundtable Feb. 14.
"We're not just talking about Naval Station Everett," said Naval Station Everett Commanding Officer Michael Coury as he greeted attendees. "Ideas that can be utilized for operational technology throughout the Navy Region are also welcome."
Representatives from a variety of energy-focused organizations in the local community came to share their ideas on innovation and energy efficiency. Navy officials were able to learn from the public and private sector, discuss current environmental capabilities, and gain feedback on potential applications for energy technology.
The local community shares similar issues, said City of Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson, who also addressed the group. He recognized that success for one party can result in success for all. "We hope Naval Station Everett and the region's research community can provide the Navy a reflective and creative environment wherein practical solutions can be shaped, tested and implemented," he said.
During the Roundtable, a diverse group of presenters from academic, utility, business and contracting backgrounds discussed alternatives from consumption reduction to renewable energy sources. Each of the topics addressed one of the five targets Mabus gave the Navy and Marine Corps back in 2009.
The following five targets center energy security and compliance by 2020:
1. 50% of energy must come from alternative sources
2. Achieve net-zero annual energy consumption
3. Ships will be powered by alternative fuel
4. Develop an all electric transportation fleet
5. Contracts requirements for sustainable practices (effective immediately)
According to Christopher Floro, Regional Program Director, Navy Region Northwest has already begun to make strides in hitting those targets. At a four and half percent average, the region is ahead of the Navy's mandated three percent reduction in consumption per year. The Northwest is also ahead in integrating solid waste management and continues to work toward obtaining fifty percent of all their energy sources from alternative fuels.
"It's good for us to be aiming towards high goals," said Floro. He explained the Navy's three part approach will be to watch energy technology, partner for resources and talent, and lead in pursuing applicable technologies.
The initiative to host the Green Roundtable blossomed from visit with the Honorable Jackalyne Pfannenstiel, Assistant Secretary of the US Navy (Energy, Installations and Environment) last September. During her visit to Everett, Pfannenstiel personally met with Congressman Rick Larsen, Everett Mayor Ray Stephenson, Navy officials, and local leaders to discuss the Navy's energy goals and to develop closer collaboration among the Navy and regional government, industry, and research facilities.
In his address in 2009, Mabus urged Navy personnel from the highest ranks to the newest Sailor and Marine to think creatively in coming up with new ideas to go green. "I am asking you to let the reach of your imagination match the reach of the United States Navy and Marine Corps," said Mabus. "I am asking you to make the future a more secure and better place."