Leaders discuss federal mandates at energy conference

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Vann Miller
  • 78 ABW/PA
Both civilian and military leaders met Jan. 27 to discuss federal energy mandates during a conference at the Warner Robins Museum of Aviation.

The 78th Air Base Wing hosted the first Georgia State Military Installation Energy Conference, which included members from the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, the U.S. Department of Energy, as well as representatives from Georgia Tech, the Herty Foundation and other civilian agencies in Georgia.

The conference follows the signing of the first two Presidential Memoranda toward energy independence, which were signed in Washington Jan. 26, proving to many just how seriously America is investing in clean energy.

Robins has taken the initiative to discover new ways to reduce its energy consumption and discover alternative energy saving ideas.

Although energy saving initiatives have been one of the base's key objectives since the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, this week is particularly noteworthy as the nation focused on energy and the new White House administration's way ahead.

As noted during the conference, the practices of energy conservation and energy efficiency are going to impact the base and the surrounding community in new ways, according to one spokesperson from the 21st Century Partnership.

With the number of ideas discussed during the conferences, it was optimistic to see the options for renewable energy that had the potential for creating new jobs and grow industry for Middle Georgia, according to one speaker.

Mary Therese Tebbe, executive director of 21st Century Partnership, said she was excited about the opportunity to help the base develop its energy initiatives.

"We're all new to this," Mrs. Tebbe said about the sheer scope of the challenges to come. "But this is an opportunity to create the model. And, is an opportunity to institute the model"

During the conference, there were several areas of discussion, including energy intensity reduction, water usage and renewable energy. Furthermore, conversation about the future of ground fuel and alternative fuels were also discussed.

One of the guests, who spoke at length about renewable energy options, made the point that each area has its unique characteristics that make one form of energy more practical and worth investing.

Ross Harding, a vice president for business development from the Herty Foundation, illustrated with maps the locations across the United States that yielded the best returns based on the type of renewable energy.

Mr. Harding said though the efforts of conservation and efficiency are important in the planning to make Robins energy independent, he said the reality is in order to meet the goal mandated in the Energy Independence and Security Act, it will require implementing innovative alternatives.

A base representative at the conference said overall the conference was a great opportunity to meet with other installations and share ideas about energy conservation.

"Clearly we have to make significant changes in our business practices to meet our requirements," said Judah Bradley, 78th ABW Energy Office manager. "We've (Robins) worked with the state to identify opportunities for renewable energy plants on or near Robins."

It is not clear after one conference what direction Georgia's energy companies, the Warner Robins community or Robins Air Force Base will take in the journey towards green and clean energy, but it is clear that the people are invested in a future including energy independence.

"This is a great example of a partnership," Mrs. Tebbe said about the cooperation at the conference.