TOKYO — The Army hopes to get one-quarter of its power from renewable sources by 2025 with the help of a new task force, Army Secretary John M. McHugh announced this week.

The Energy Initiatives Task Force for Large-scale Renewable Energy Projects, which will kick off next month, will add to initiatives already under way at Army posts all over the world, McHugh said in a Defense Department news release.

The Army has 126 renewable energy projects such as a large solar array at Fort Irwin, Calif., which will cover an area the size of Manhattan once finished, McHugh said.

“We think we’ve made a great start,” he said in the release, citing projects that include micro-grids, solar and natural gas. “But to meet our longer-term objectives we have to do better.”

The task force will seek private sector partnerships on a variety of large renewable and alternative energy programs. Close to $7.1 billion in private investment will be needed to meet the 2025 target, he said.

Katherine Hammack, assistant secretary of the Army for installations, energy and environment, said the task force will promote energy that is financially viable for the Army, taxpayers and the private sector.

Energy-saving initiatives the task force promotes will complement others taking place across the DOD, McHugh said.

The Defense Department uses about 80 percent of the federal government’s energy, with the Army consuming about 21 percent.

“So we view ourselves as a target-rich environment in terms of trying to do a better job with taxpayer dollars, trying to do a better job in our stewardship of the environment,” McHugh said.

The Army’s energy initiatives will help keep troops safer in Iraq and Afghanistan since less reliance on conventional fuel at far-flung bases means fewer convoys and less exposure to danger for soldiers supporting energy requirements, he said.

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Seth Robson is a Tokyo-based reporter who has been with Stars and Stripes since 2003. He has been stationed in Japan, South Korea and Germany, with frequent assignments to Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, Australia and the Philippines.

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