Deployment of clean energy technologies is accelerating across military installations operated by the U.S. Department of Defense, according to The Pew Charitable Trusts. Pew's new report, “Power Surge,” examines how the military is using private-sector capabilities and harnessing innovative financing to obtain advanced energy systems. These projects are helping the Pentagon enhance mission assurance, save money, and meet congressional and executive branch goals.
According to the study, the number of energy saving and efficiency projects at military installations more than doubled from fiscal year 2010 to fiscal year 2012, from 630 to 1,339. The number of renewable energy projects increased from 454 to 700 during the same period.
“The military's clean energy installation initiatives are gathering momentum, enhancing base energy security,” said Phyllis Cuttino, who directs Pew's project on national security, energy, and climate. “These improvements are possible even as the Pentagon's budget is shrinking because the armed services are harnessing private-sector expertise and resources. This is a win-win-win proposition: The military gets better energy infrastructure, taxpayer dollars are saved, and the clean energy industry is finding new market opportunities.”
John Warner, a former U.S. senator and secretary of the Navy and senior adviser to the project said, “The Department of Defense has a long history of embracing energy challenges and has been at the forefront of innovation. And so it is today that we find America's armed forces in the midst of the transition to renewable power and efficiency technologies that help ensure a stable, diversified, and continuous supply of electricity. I commend the men and women of the armed forces who are making these changes possible with their spirit of ingenuity and commitment.”
The U.S. military incurs a $4 billion energy bill annually operating its bases. To lower energy costs and enhance security, the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps have initiated policies and measures to ensure near- and long-term progress in clean energy installation, including the widespread use of third-party financing in which private developers assume responsibility for funding and maintaining projects. Key findings from Pew's research are:
According to Navigant Research, Pew's clean energy research partner for this report, in total, 384 megawatts of installed renewable energy capacity existed on the Pentagon's installations in mid-2013. By the end of 2018, it is estimated that renewable energy capacity on bases could increase more than fivefold, to 2.1 GW, enabling the military to meet its goal for deployment of 3 GW of renewable energy by 2025. During this time, solar photovoltaic and biomass are forecast to account for the majority of new, renewable energy installed capacity.
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