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04 March 2016

NATO Keeps Working on its Smart Energy Strategy

On 3 March 2016, at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, the NATO Smart Energy Post Exercise Workshop took place with the aim to resume lessons learned from the Exercise “Capable Logistician" 2015 and to discuss further ideas and possible standardisation projects that could advance NATO’s smart energy programme established in 2011. The meeting, which was attended by more than 100 NATO officials, delegates from member countries as well as representatives from smart energy related industry, was facilitated by NATO’s Emerging Security Challenges Division (ESCD).

The exercise “Capable Logistician" 2015 – supported by NATO’s Science for Peace and Security Programme (SPSP) – took place at Bakony Combat Training Centre near Veszprem, Hungary, 8-19 June 2015. "NATO Smart Energy is about empowering the soldier of the future and an important mission’s enabler for the modern military," Ambassador Sorin Ducaru, Assistant Secretary General of NATOs ESCD, back then described the direction of impact. "It reduces cost and risks of military operations, as well as the environmental footprint of the military,"

A total of 1,700 troops from the contributing countries, Germany, Hungary, Serbia (within the frame of the Partnership for Peace programme), and the US took part, and more than 50 pieces of equipment were tested as to their contribution to the above mentioned aims, amongst others:

  • A mobile roll-array solar plants that can be connected to micro grids or island solutions produced by Renovagen and another solar power plant REMULES made by Smartflower,
  • The Expeditionary Modular Universal Battery Charger (eMUBC) from Thales Defence & Security that combines the functions of multiple battery chargers and is able to harvest power from solar panels and other energy sources,
  • A highly insulated tent made of light weight cabon-aluminium with a cooling provided by an energy efficient AC unit made by G&G Partners,
  • A mobile air conditioning unit based on energy efficient heat pump/heat exchange technology produced by TIEGEL, and
  • External LED flood lights for camp security from SETOLITE.


Regarding the performance of the tested items, the experts of the “Smart Energy Group” around ESCD Smart Energy Action Officer Dr. Susanne Michaelis came to an all over all positive evaluation, but made an important objection: For want of a smart energy STANAG (NATO Standardization Agreement), the mostly stand alone solutions irrespective of their individual benefit could hamper interoperability. The expert’s reflections towards a possible respective standardisation that guarantees interoperability and leaves room for innovation at the same time apparently have already reached an advanced level. However, the decisions remain to be taken on the political level.

One of the further ideas to promote smart energy engineering and thinking turned on a Smart Energy Training & Assessment Centre (SETAC) presented by a representative of the Royal Netherlands Army as an (to date) national project involving interested actors from the smart energy industry.

NATO plans to gather more experiences on the smart energy issue during the Exercises “Trident Juncture” and another edition of “Capable Logistician” – both taking place in 2018.

For further information about NATO’s smart energy activities see here.

Alexander Kolberg