Action Moves Navy in Hawaii to Greater Energy Security

By Rear Adm. Frank Ponds (Commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific)

Adm. Frank Ponds

In order to achieve greater energy security the Commander in Chief declared October “Energy Action Month.”

The Navy is leading efforts to accelerate from “awareness” to “action” in order to save energy, water and money for American taxpayers.

The idea of focusing on action to achieve greater energy security is especially timely.

Last week the Navy commemorated our 237th birthday.  It was an opportunity to focus on our Navy’s legacy of innovation and commitment to new technologies, including warfighting techniques and platforms.

The Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Henry J. Kaiser (T-AO 187), left, delivers a 50-50 blend of advanced biofuels and traditional petroleum-based fuel to the guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59) during the Great Green Fleet demonstration portion of Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2012 exercise. In the background are the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) and the guided-missile destroyer USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93). Twenty-two nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in the biennial RIMPAC exercise from June 29 to Aug. 3, in and around the Hawaiian Islands. The world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2012 is the 23rd exercise in the series that began in 1971. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Ryan J. Mayes/Released)

In our Navy’s history, we have moved from wooden sailing ships to steam-powered steel hulls and nuclear power, from cannons and battleships to naval aviation, submarines and advanced surface warfare capability with Aegis guided missiles.

Here in Hawaii, ever mindful of the call for action to achieve greater energy security, we embrace innovation while preserving history and maintaining force readiness.

History shows us that wars are often fought over resources.  World War II in the Pacific began because of Imperial Japan’s aggression against other Asian countries in search of petroleum and raw materials.  The United States and allies prevented the importing of oil and minerals into Japan in the late 1930s, leading directly to the attack of Dec. 7, 1941.

Our Navy and Marine Corps leaders testify that U.S. service members in the field are at greater risk because of a dependency on fossil fuels.

As Senator Daniel K. Inouye points out, “Our sons and daughters have fought and died in the desert” in order to “stabilize the Middle East and to safeguard democracy” — in part because of oil.

As a Medal of Honor recipient from World War II and chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Inouye speaks with great credibility and insight.  He commends the Department of Defense’s investment in alternative energy and supports the Navy’s innovative approaches in adapting new technologies and methods on conserving and generating renewable energy.

Done right, our energy security initiatives here in Hawaii can serve as a tribute to our warfighters, past and present.

Working with other services and agencies, we are implementing the Joint Energy Security Initiative in Hawaii to continue our efforts to achieve greater energy security and sustainability.  The Navy in Hawaii is working with our partners to evaluate different types of renewable energy, including wind, wave, photovoltaic, biofuels and geothermal.

We are looking at all available and acceptable sites for our most effective renewable energy option in southern Oahu – energy from the sun.  We are evaluating sites at Waipio Peninsula, West Loch and at the Joint Base.  Done right, we can preserve history and protect areas, including the former runway at Ford Island, as a tribute.  In the first year of operation, that one solar array at Ford Island would save taxpayers $1.5M.

Another innovative approach that is working for the Navy is the Renewable Energy Conservation Program — a way for military residents in public-private venture housing to do their part to reduce excessive energy use.  Navy Region Hawaii and our Forest City partners served as the pilot program for RECP, which is now being instituted worldwide.  Families now have an incentive to save electricity, and they are doing their share.

Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert, left, and Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) the Honorable Ray Mabus observe as the Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Henry J. Kaiser (T-AO 187), background, transfers biofuels to the guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59) during a replenishment at sea. The fueling is part of the U.S. Navy’s Great Green Fleet demonstration portion of the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2012 exercise. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Sam Shavers/Released)

This past summer we hosted RIMPAC 2012, in which the whole world watched the Navy demonstrate advanced biofuels in the “Great Green Fleet.”

Recent awards show our commands in Hawaii are demonstrating their ability, as one team, to manage energy and water resources.   Each of our installations in Hawaii and several area afloat commands received recognition directly from the Secretary of the Navy this month for energy and water management.

We all need to work together to meet national, state and Secretary of the Navy renewable energy sustainability goals as we face ever-growing fuel costs and budgetary challenges in the years ahead.

This is a force readiness issue.  The reasons to act are clear.  The time to act is now.

During Energy Action Month we are asked to “think globally … lead locally.”  Let’s continue to lead and take action together.

Navy in Hawaii Wins Top Prize for Energy

Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam was the big winner today in a ceremony at the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C. recognizing commands that are leading the way in energy security.

CAPT Jeff James, Joint Base Commander, and teams from Hawaii were on hand to receive the Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Energy and Water Management Award.

U.S. Navy courtesy photo

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus recognized select commands for leading the Department of the Navy in reducing energy and water consumption, increasing use of renewable energy sources and constructing sustainable facilities, all while maintaining mission readiness.

“These awards demonstrate the progress that we have made in the last three and a half years to change the way we think about and the way we produce and use energy,” said Mabus. “We are working towards these energy goals to help us become a more effective military force to help us accomplish the mission that the nation gives us.”

Navy leaders have shown how renewable energy saves lives on the battlefield and provides independence from foreign sources of energy.

Hawaii Leads

As SECNAV Platinum Command Award winner, the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam is authorized to fly the SECNAV Energy Flag for one year. There is also a cash award of $45,000.

The USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60) was honored with Platinum level status for afloat commands and will receive a $5,000 award.
Also earning recognition were the Pacific Missile Range Facility, receiving Gold level of achievement, and the USS Hopper (DDG 70), awarded Blue level of achievement.

WASHINGTON (Oct. 3, 2012) Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus speaks at the Secretary of the Navy Energy and Water Management Awards ceremony at the U.S. Navy Memorial. The awards recognize Navy and Marine Corps installations, ships and squadrons for their notable progress toward the Department of the Navy’s goals of reducing energy and water consumption, increasing the use of renewable energy, and constructing sustainable facilities. (U.S. navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brett Cote/ Released)

“Congratulations to everyone – past and present, ashore and afloat – who earned this tremendous recognition,” said Rear Adm. Frank Ponds, commander of Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific. Pearl Harbor-Hickam, USS Paul Hamilton, PMRF and USS Hopper are commended for strong leadership, commitment and advocacy for energy and water management. I am extremely proud that the honors we received recognize our ‘one team’ – both the installations and the waterfront.”

Among the accomplishments leading to JBPHH winning the 2012 SECNAV Energy and Water Management Award include reducing energy consumption by 18 percent in the first year of FOC [full operational capability], constructing photovoltaic systems at five JBPHH facilities and at the Pacific Missile Range, and conducting more than $6.5M in energy and water efficiency projects in fiscal year 2011.

The JBPHH energy team is comprised of Katie Ramirez and Amy Nishijima, installation energy managers, who are also part of the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Hawaii, as well as building energy monitors who conduct weekly audits of energy usage.
“This is a truly a team award, and represents the collective efforts of every command and individual across the entire joint base,” said Capt. Jeffrey James, commander of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

“The sheer size and diversity of this base – ranging from SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team One on the Pearl City Peninsula to the Hawaii Air National Guard on Hickam to the Naval Communications/Telecommunications Area Master Station at Wahiawa Annex, and everything in-between-make this recognition all the more meaningful,” he said.

“I couldn’t be prouder to be associated with the outstanding military service members, DoD civilians and families residing onboard JBPHH. It is their commitment and willingness to go the extra mile that make achievements like this possible. As you drive by the flagpole at the JBPHH HQ building and see the SECNAV Energy Award flag proudly waving in the warm trade winds, you can rightly feel a sense of satisfaction knowing that you helped put it there,” James said.

Achievements Recognized

The DoN is cultivating a culture of energy efficiency on shore and at sea resulting in enhanced energy readiness and innovation. DoN is a widely recognized leader in renewable energy production. Equivalent of 19 percent of DoN shore electricity consumption comes from alternative sources.

Eight Navy and Marine Corps commands were recognized for exemplary energy and water savings which resulted in combined energy savings in 2011 of more than 418,500 million British thermal units (MBtu), enough energy for more than 4,144 homes for an entire year. The commands brought new renewable energy systems on line that produce 48,700 MBtu per year, equal to the energy requirements of 482 homes per year. Water savings were more than 37.5 million gallons, equivalent to 57 Olympic-size swimming pools. Cost avoidance in 2011 topped more than $16.7 million.

Navy commands undergo a rigorous evaluation of their overall energy and water management performance and are ranked according to a system of SECNAV award winners, then platinum, gold or blue level of achievement. Ten platinum, 51 gold and 36 blue commands were also recognized during the ceremony.

Mabus emphasized DoN’s aggressive energy and water consumption goals laid out three years ago. These five goals strengthen the strategic, tactical and operational capabilities of the Navy and Marine Corps while enhancing environmental stewardship:

The DoN’s five energy goals are:

.    Increase Alternative Energy Use DoN-Wide: By 2020, 50 percent of total DoN energy consumption will come from alternative sources;
.    Sail the “Great Green Fleet”: DoN demonstrated a Green Strike Group in local operations in 2012 and will sail it by 2016;
.    Reduce Non-Tactical Petroleum Use: By 2015; DoN will reduce petroleum use in the commercial vehicle fleet by 50 percent;
.    Energy Ashore: By 2020, DoN will produce at least 50 percent of shore-based energy requirements from alternative sources; 50 percent of DoN installations will be net-zero; and
.    Energy Efficient Acquisition: Evaluation of energy factors will be mandatory when awarding contracts for systems and buildings.

“We have energy goals that we want to achieve and because of the courage, bold actions and innovations of our winners today, we will achieve these goals,” said Mabus. “We are on the path to create a new energy future that will increase the security of this country because that is what the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps have always done.”

For more news on U.S. Department of the Navy Energy, visit

USS Chung Hoon Participating in the 2012 RIMPAC Exercises – The Great Green Fleet

During the 2010 RIMPAC Exercises I had an opportunity to go out to sea on the USS Chung Hoon.

Participating in the 2010 RIMPAC Exercises

This year the USS Chung Hoon is also participating in the RIMPAC Exercises and is part of the “Great Green Fleet” that is using biofuel.


Navy destroyer USS Chung Hoon doing a replenishment-at-sea (RAS) mission during the Rim of the Pacific Exercise. The Chung Hoon took on 200,000 pounds of fuel, a 50/50 mix of its normal diesel fuel and a biofuel component, which consists of algae and reprocessed cooking oil.

The Commanding Officer gave me this coin after we had lunch on the USS Chung Hoon

Navy Plans to Deploy a “Great Green Fleet” Powered by Alternative Fuels

I’ve had the opportunities to do a lot of cool stuff in the last few years with the US Navy.  Everything from getting flown out to the middle of the Pacific Ocean and landing on the USS Ronald Reagan and getting catapulted off it, to going out to sea with the Destroyer USS Chung Hoon, and just recently getting a tour of the nuclear powered submarine the USS Cheyenne.

Commander Coins I've received

I just read that next year the US Navy is going to be doing some exercises off the Hawaii coast that will involve the fleet using alternative fuels:

This year off the Hawaiian coast, an exercise will demonstrate a green strike group of Navy ships, and by 2016 the Navy plans to deploy a “Great Green Fleet” powered entirely by alternative fuels, said Chris Tindal, the director of operational energy in the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy.

For the Hawaii exercise, “we’ve got a carrier and a submarine on nuclear power, but then we also will have the air wing on the carrier using biofuels, along with two destroyers and a cruiser,” Tindal said. “That’s going to be a big opportunity for us to show that it really can happen…”

This sounds like a real good opportunity for Big Island farmers to start getting more into the Biofuel crops real soon!  Now I just need to get in good with the new Admiral that just took charge of the Pacific Fleet.  Admiral Cecil Haney… can you hear me… I’d love to check out these exercises!