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The US Air Force (USAF) has secured nearly half of the energy conservation investment programme (ECIP) projects that the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) has agreed to fund in 2016.

The USAF bagged 15 of the total 33 projects, capturing $44m of the $150m available ECIP funds for the year. Meanwhile, the Army and Navy secured seven and five projects respectively, and the Marine Corps won two contracts.

Air Force Civil Engineer Center (AFCEC) ECIP programme manager John Byrnes said: "We normally see funding in the $35m range.

"This is the best year the air force ECIP programme has ever had, both in terms of number of projects and total programmed cost."

The projects are scheduled to range across installations in six US states, including Alaska, as well as Ascension Auxiliary Airfield in the South Atlantic Ocean and Wake Island Airfield.

These projects include energy and one water conservation, and two renewable energy production contracts. They have an average savings-to-investment ratio (SIR) of 2.

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By GlobalData
"This is the best year the air force ECIP programme has ever had."

AFCEC Energy Program Development Division chief Ken Gleason said: "Direct investment in energy and water conservation, and renewable energy projects through programmes like ECIP, versus third-party financed investment, are the most effective way to achieve air force energy goals, as well as true cost avoidance.

"That’s because when we invest directly, we avoid the added costs of financing our energy projects."

ECIP projects are required to have a SIR of at least one to be considered for funding by the OSD.

The ECIP is a subset of the Department of Defense’s (DoD)-wide military construction programme. It supports construction of new, high-efficiency energy systems, while enabling the improvement and modernisation of the existing platforms.

The DOD-wide military construction programme is designed to fund smaller-scale projects that generally run from $750,000 to $20m each, and aim to save energy or water, produce energy, or generally reduce the department’s energy costs.

However, ECIP projects are not included in the USAF’s integrated priority list, as they do not cover mission critical, anti-terrorist force protection, or environmental projects.

Image: Workers install the blades of a wind turbine used to power the PAVE PAWS radar at Joint Base Cape Cod, Massachusetts, US. Photo: courtesy of US Air Force.