Great White Fleet Going Green
In this day and age we all know the importance of going “green” and trying to conserve energy both at work and at home, but how exactly does that apply to the U.S. Navy? The power and presence of the Navy are fundamentally tied to the availability of reliable energy sources to accomplish its missions. In order to provide and maintain such access, the Navy is deploying next-generation capabilities to help bolster combat effectiveness, maximize strategic options, and better protect our Sailors.
With that in mind, President Obama has proclaimed October to be Energy Action Month. This focus is meant to highlight how critical it is for Sailors and Marines to look for ways to optimize their energy use in order to boost warfighting capabilities. As Energy Action Month comes to a close, here’s a peek at some of what the Navy is doing to focus on energy practices and give life to the Great Green Fleet.
- By 2020 the Navy aims to reach Secretary of the Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus’ goal of getting 50 percent of our total energy consumption from alternative sources.
- To save energy while transiting, ships will use new software to determine the optimum speed and plant alignment along with Optimum Track Ship Routing and Tactical Environmental Support System data, or Smart Voyage Planning (SVP) to set the safest and most efficient routes.
- The Department of the Navy (DoN) demonstrated alternative fuel blends on all ships and aircraft that participated in the 2012 Rim of the Pacific exercise. Ship and air systems operating with alternative fuel blends performed at full capability during the exercise. Planning is underway to deploy the Great Green Fleet in 2016.
- DoN has issued policy guidance concerning the use of energy-related factors in acquisition planning, technology development, and source selections for platforms and weapons systems.
Ultimately, the Navy is adopting alternative energy resources for a multitude of long-term benefits. Not only will it help shield the Navy from volatile energy prices and reduce the amount of time our ships are tied to oilers at sea, but alternative energy sources also encourage environmentally responsible technologies afloat and ashore, as well as creating a sustainable model for national defense. These strategies will help the Navy ensure a safe world for future generations, and also a healthier one as global sustainability increases through reduced greenhouse gas emissions and lower dependence on fossil fuels. Most importantly, energy diversification will help the Navy successfully complete missions and allow for the effective deployment of next-generation systems, like directed energy weapons and the rail gun, all while giving the Navy operational flexibility through increased range, endurance, and payload.