September 25, 2011
Military Spearheads Clean-Energy Drive
The Pentagon is taking advantage of its status as the nation’s single biggest energy consumer to drive a clean energy agenda. Its spending on renewable energy increased 300 percent between 2006 and 2009, from $400 million to $1.2 billion, and it is projected to reach more than $10 billion annually by 2030. And the Defense Department has pledged to obtain 25 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2025. Is it simply a case of the Obama Administration pushing ahead with its clean energy agenda in the face of failed climate legislation and continuing attacks on renewable-energy subsidies? Hardly. Increased reliance on alternative energy promotes national security by reducing dependency on foreign oil – 80 percent of the energy consumed by the Department of Defense comes from oil – and developing assured sources of supply. In the case of the Navy and Marine Corps, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus has adopted goals calling for 50 percent of the services’ energy supply coming from alternative energy such as biofuels and solar power by 2020; cutting fossil fuel use by its non-combat vehicles in half by 2015; and reducing fuel consumption on ships 15 percent by 2020.