Net zero energy is a concept of energy self-sufficiency based on minimized demand and use of local renewable energy resources. A net zero energy military installation is defined as: “A military installation that produces as much energy on-site from renewable energy generation or through the on-site use of renewable fuels, as it consumes in its buildings, facilities, and fleet vehicles.” [1] The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) developed a comprehensive, first-of-its-kind strategy for evaluating a military installation’s potential to achieve net zero energy status, including an assessment of baseline energy use, energy use reduction opportunities from efficiency or behavior changes, renewable energy generation opportunities, electrical systems analysis of renewable interconnection, microgrid potential, and transportation energy savings. This paper describes NREL’s net zero energy assessment strategy and provides a planning guide for other organizations interested in evaluating net zero potential. We also present case studies and describe lessons learned from NREL’s net zero energy assessments at seven installations, including the importance of enforcing and funding mandates, providing leadership support, collecting accurate data, and selecting appropriate technologies. Finally, we evaluate whether the net zero concept is a useful framework for analyzing an energy strategy and a reasonable goal.

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