UC Davis agreed to help the U.S. Navy find new ways to use less energy
and to derive more of the energy it does use from renewable sources such as the
sun and wind, instead of oil and coal.
The primary focus of the new partnership is to cut the energy the Navy uses
for outdoor lighting on its bases. The right combination of lights, sensors and
computerized controls can reduce lighting energy consumption up to 70%,
said Michael Siminovitch, director of the UC Davis California Lighting
Technology Center and a professor of design at UC Davis.
The lighting center is already testing lighting systems at three military
installations in California: Naval Base San Diego, California National Guard
Joint Forces Headquarters in Sacramento, and Beale Air Force Base in
Under the new memorandum of agreement, the Navy will also look to UC Davis
for expertise in other aspects of renewable and efficient energy technology,
such as building heating and cooling, and alternative energy sources for Navy
vehicles, vessels and aircraft.
In a half-day meeting today, UC Davis energy experts described the
university’s many research, development and technology-transfer programs to
Jackalyne Pfannenstiel, the Navy’s assistant secretary for energy, installations
and environment. Pfannenstiel knows the university from her years as chair of
the California Energy Commission, which funds UC Davis energy research and
development through its Public Interest Energy Research program.
“Over a year ago, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus laid out some pretty
ambitious energy goals for the Navy and Marine Corps, which are essential to
reducing our dependence on fossil fuels,” Pfannenstiel said.
“We believe that all of his goals are achievable. In order to meet them, we
must focus not only on alternative energy sources but also on improving our
energy efficiency to reduce our overall consumption. This agreement with UC
Davis will help advance our efforts on both fronts.”
Last month, Mabus told a clean-economy summit in Washington, D.C., that the
military dependence on fossil fuels “creates strategic, operational and tactical
vulnerabilities for our forces.”
Mabus said: “Energy reform is about improving the capability and efficiency
of the ships, aircraft and weapons systems that we use. It’s about making us
better warfighters. It’s also about ensuring the safety and the lives of our
sailors and Marines.”
The overarching goal, he said, “is that no later than 2020, at least half of
all the energy that we use, both afloat and ashore, will come from nonfossil
fuel sources. Also by 2020, at least half our bases will be net-zero in terms of
consumption. And in a lot of cases, we think we’ll be returning power to the
grid rather than pulling power from it.”