Smart Blue Water Camps
Existing civil and military water management infrastructure is facing pressure due to climatic changes and limited new investment. Military installations are so far among the least acknowledged elements in water cycle management.
Acknowledging water as a critical resource throughout Europe, including for their Armed Forces, six EDA Member States – Greece, Cyprus, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Italy - have recently committed to participating in a novel water management project: the ‘Smart Blue Water Camps project’ (SBWC). It examines water management on defence lands from a hydro-informatics, conservation, sustainability and technological innovation point of view.
For the first phase which kicked off in September 2016, the EDA provides funding to conduct workshops and analysis of water management technology for fixed military installations on a chosen military site in each Member State. The second phase will involve implementation of the most suitable identified interventions.
Since 2015, the EDA’s Energy & Environment Working Group has been the umbrella for the Consultation Forum for Sustainable Energy in the Defence and Security Sector. The Consultation Forum is a European Commission (DG Energy) initiative managed by the EDA. It brings together experts from the defence and energy sectors to share information and best practice on improving energy management, efficiency and the use of renewable energy in the military.
The Consultative Forum’s objectives are:
- to assess ways and means of how to best implement existing EU energy legislation in the military and defence domain
- to stimulate collaborative sustainable energy projects in the defence sector
- to identify applicable funding streams for such projects and give a tailored information regarding access to EU funding.
The work is carried out in three parallel working groups each with a particular focus: i)“Energy Management” deals with the Energy Efficiency Directive, data collection and analysis, and with EnMS; ii) “Energy Efficiency” focuses on key articles of the Energy Efficiency and Energy Performance in Buildings directives, the technology side of energy in buildings and fixed infrastructure, renovation of existing buildings as well as on heating and air conditioning inspection schemes and technical building systems requirements, and their applicability to the defence sector; iii) “Renewable Energy” deals with the application of Renewable Energy Systems (RES) in the military, national RES action plans, decentralisation and the use of RES at military sites, and technologies in the area of solar, wind, biomass, geothermal and small Hydro as well as with fuel cells, storage and smart grids.
Protection of Critical Infrastructure
Recently the Consultation Forum topics have been extended to exchanges of experience on the Protection of Critical Infrastructure (PCEI). This implies sharing expertise on the analysis of criticalities and the interdependencies for the protection of the energy infrastructure against man-made and natural hazards.
In May 2016, the EDA held an initial meeting to exchange views with national representatives and the Commission’s DG Energy on the need to explore PCEI from a military point of view and to assess how the EU energy legislation on European critical (energy) infrastructures can be applied by the defence sector.
The Consultation Forum takes place in a series of five plenary meetings over two years; two of which have been successfully completed. The first meeting was held in Brussels in January 2016 and the second meeting in Dublin in June 2016. The third plenary meeting takes place in Italy from 22nd - 24th November 2016; two further meetings will be held in 2017.
The Consultation Forum is being carried forward with the participation of 27 EU Member States including Denmark (which is not a member of the EDA) as well as Norway and Switzerland which shows the critical importance of energy efficiency to European Ministries of Defence. The final deliverable will be a guidance document which all Member States can use to find practicable solutions to military energy management challenges.
The way ahead
Richard Brewin, EDA’s Energy and Environment Systems Project Officer concludes that: “Understanding and managing energy alongside other existing and emerging risks including climate change, resource depletion, and security of supply considerations will help shape our future capability requirements and maintain military capability to the required levels of effectiveness”.
The EDA’s Energy and Environment programme will continue to serve as a platform for Member States willing to deal in a collaborative way with energy and environment-related challenges in the defence sector. Working group meetings are scheduled for this autumn to discuss the next phase of the Smart Camp Technical Demonstrator project, for instance. It is also planned to consider the scope for and benefits of the circular economy as well as sustainable procurement to Europe’s military organizations.