With 80% of convoys transporting fuel, and with the military suffering most of it casualties and deaths on convoys, it’s all about the math.

The military has decided that there must be a better way to use energy.

We have lost many lives delivering fuel to bases around Afghanistan

‘More Fight, Less Fuel’

Tuesday afternoon, Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn and Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy Plans and Programs Sharon Burke held a short briefing in which they announced the release of this document, the first ever Department of Defense (DoD) Operational Energy Strategy.

“The strategy will guide the DoD to a more strategic use of energy resources in current and future plans,” the department said in announcing document. “It will lower risks to our warfighters, save money for American taxpayers, and allow the department to shift more resources to other warfighting priorities.”

With ongoing war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the military has already been quite actively working on improving fuel efficiency and “lightening the load” of combat soldiers. Less frequent refueling also means longer ranges for possible operations and reduced vulnerability of supply lines.

In a memorandum on energy issued by General David Petraeus last week, he wrote specific guidelines to commanders on fuel efficiency.

“We have lost many lives delivering fuel to bases around Afghanistan,” Petraeus wrote. “We can and will do better.” In the letter, Patraeus outlines several steps by which energy can be used more wisely, including a plan to set up a special office who job will be to improve energy efficiency.

He writes: “My team will assist commanders with measuring and managing unit fuel consumption. Commanders will make energy-informed, risk-based decisions on aviation operations, vehicle operations, base camp design, power and water generation, and distribution. This includes decisions on deliveries, improvements to existing structures, and new construction.”

Fuel Hungry

The military is currently the single largest industrial consumers of oil in the world and largest American oil consumer. USA Today estimated that the military now uses 1.6 million gallons of oil a day in Iraq. With the release of this report, the military plans to build fuel efficiency into its battle plans and significantly reduce oil and fuel consumption.

To that end, in his letter, Petraeus advised commanders to limit consumption of fuel as much as possible.

“On an individual level, I expect commanders to ensure personnel consider the first and second order effects of day-to-day fuel use. This includes turning off unused equipment, repairing faulty equipment, and avoiding using heating, air conditioning, and lighting in unused and unoccupied structures,” he writes.

Lessons for America

According to this report, and according to the military’s Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment, Katherine Hammack, who spoke with Breaking Energy, the military also hopes to teach energy lessons to the American people.

The report hopes to be “contributing to national goals, such as reducing reliance on fossil fuels, cutting greenhouse gas emissions, and stimulating innovation in the civilian sector.”

“In meeting that mission, the Department can provide a strong and sustained pull for innovation, given the scale of military energy requirements and the need to change current energy use patterns,” reads the report.

Sunkissed in Hawaii

On Tuesday, the US Navy announced its own energy efficiency project.

It has selected Advanced Energy and Maui Solar Energy Systems to build a 787 KW solar project at the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kekaha, Hawaii.

The solar plant will be made of stainless steel photovoltaic inverters, which are known for being low-maintenance and long-lasting.

“We have preferred PV Powered commercial inverters due to their robust design, integrated features that allow for an easy installation, and standard 10-year warranty,” said John Bews, president at Maui Solar Energy Systems, in an announcement.

Picture: US Soldiers march in a Memorial Day event, 2011.