Getting Purple On Green

The Air Force’s ambitious efforts to conserve energy and leverage renewable and environmentally friendly power sources have the support of new Secretary Michael Donley. But, looking forward, Donley wants the focus to become more “cooperative and joint” with the other services and Office of the Secretary of Defense, says Michael Aimone, USAF’s acting deputy chief of staff for logistics, installations, and mission support. Speaking to reporters Oct. 30, Aimone said this new policy resulted from a meeting that he and Kevin Billings, USAF’s acting energy czar, had with Donley in mid-October. For example, Donley wants the Air Force to partner with the Army and Navy on a large solar photovoltaic project in California that the Air Force had originally planned for Edwards Air Force Base, Aimone said. Soon, he said, USAF and Army officials will travel to Sacramento to work with the state government on the details of the request for proposals, with a site other than Edwards perhaps being chosen to host the solar farm. The Air Force is also now incorporating the Army in its activities to establish small nuclear power reactors at some USAF installations, Aimone said. “This is a beginning of a collaboration that is in its infancy,” he said, noting the Army’s history going back to the 1950s of using nuclear power at their facilities. “Right now we’re trying to frame a proposal and look at the pros and cons and costs envisioned with this,” Aimone said of the reactor initiative. Back in August, while still Acting Secretary, Donley said the Air Force’s work would continue unabated to certify its entire aircraft fleet to run on a hybrid alternative fuel blend. At the same time, he indicated that he wanted the service to re-examine some of its other energy projects to ensure its approach was correct.