The Pew Environment Group released a new study on steps the Department of Defense is taking to ramp up clean energy use and efficiency in three key areas: vehicle efficiency, advanced biofuels and energy efficiency in buildings, including the use of renewables. Overall we found DoD investments increased 300 percent between 2006 and 2009, from $400 million to $1.2 billion. DoD has 450 ongoing renewable energy projects producing or procuring 9.6 percent of their energy from clean sources in 2010.
DoD’s major energy challenges include risks associated with transporting liquid fuels to the battlefield, growing oil price volatility, the impact of fuel dependence on operational effectiveness, the fragility of energy supplies and compliance with energy policies set by Congress and presidents George W. Bush and Barrack Obama. Phyllis Cuttino, director of Pew’s Clean Energy Program, will provide an overview of key findings on DoD’s clean energy investments in three technology sectors: vehicles, advanced biofuels and building energy efficiency.
John Warner, former five-term U.S. Senator from Virginia and senior policy adviser to the Pew Project on National Security, Energy and Climate, will discuss the importance of reducing battlefield fuel demand and securing reliable, renewable energy supplies for combat and installation operations.
John W. Warner, a five-term U.S. senator from Virginia and senior policy adviser to the Pew Project on National Security, Energy and Climate, added: “The Department of Defense fostered the Internet, GPS, computer software and other economically important innovations. Today, our uniformed men and women and their civilian counterparts are committed to transforming the way the department uses energy through efficiency and technology development. Their accomplishments and innovations are enhancing our national, economic and environmental security.”
“For the Department of the Navy to meet the challenges we face in the 21st century, we must reduce our dependence on foreign oil and find ways to use energy more efficiently,” said Navy Secretary Ray Mabus. “We must ensure that we remain the most formidable expeditionary force in the world, even in these challenging economic times. We can do that in part by changing the way we use, acquire and produce energy. Before the end of the decade, our programs to develop and use alternative sources of energy, on shore and at sea, will pay for themselves. We will save the department money, but more importantly, these energy initiatives will make us better war fighters and will saves lives.”
Vehicle Efficiency: Liquid petroleum fuels account for approximately three-quarters ($11 billion) of DoD’s $15 billion annual energy bill. DoD spending to harness clean energy technologies for air, land and sea vehicles is projected to increase to $2.25 billion annually by 2015. To achieve its goal of increasing efficiency and reducing fuel consumption on ships by 15 percent between 2010 and 2020, the Navy is using hybrid electric technologies, improving hull coatings and using more efficient materials. A hybrid electric drive system has been tested and will be installed in the U.S.S. Truxtun, a missile guided destroyer, to save 8,500 barrels of fuel annually. Recent operational improvements to enhance efficiency will save the department $500 million this year alone.
Advanced Biofuels: DoD has set ambitious goals and is taking prudent steps to utilize advanced biofuels. The Air Force intends to use biofuels for 50 percent of its domestic aviation needs by 2016. The Navy plans to sail a “Great Green Fleet” and, along with the Marines, plans to use alternative energy sources to meet 50 percent of its energy requirements across operational platforms by 2020. In order to reach these goals, DoD has accelerated research on advanced biofuels, successfully testing and certifying them for use in existing fighter jets and ships.
Energy efficiency and renewables at bases: With more than 500,000 buildings and structures at 500 major installations around the world, DoD manages three times the square footage operated by Wal-Mart. Since 1985, DoD has reduced its facility energy consumption by more than 30 percent. By insulating 9 million square feet of base structures in Iraq and Afghanistan, energy consumption has been reduced by 77,000 gallons per day. Another initiative is the Army’s “net zero” program which aims to have six installations each produce as much as they consume in energy, water or waste by 2020, and two other installations will become Net Zero in all three areas.
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