Renewable Energy – The Army’s New Mission

Aug 29, 2012

The U.S. Department of Defense consumes an average of 1,100 trillion Btu worth of energy annually, making the Department of Defense the single largest consumer of energy worldwide. While this may seem an excessive volume, the Department of Defense only accounts for 2% of the nation’s overall energy consumption. As a result of the cost and environmental consequences of the United States’ oil consumption, the U.S. Army has announced a new strategy to combat energy consumption in both the military and private sector. The Army’s Energy Initiative Task Force, which was formed in August 2011 to help solve challenges associated with rising fuel costs, is partnering with private industries in the United States to create up to $7 billion in renewable-energy resources. The army is currently accepting bids for wind, solar, geothermal and biomass energy projects from the private sector. “The Energy Initiative Task Force will help the army build resilience through renewable energy while streamlining our business practices so developers can invest in and build an economically valuable, large-scale renewable energy infrastructure” said John McHugh, Secretary of the Army. For McHugh, the Army’s interaction with the private sector on energy creation would be a “win-win situation”— the Army has a new energy resource and the developer has a guaranteed customer. Other branches of the military are also reducing oil dependence by choosing alternative forms of energy, as discussed in the Department of Defense’s “Operational Energy Strategy”. Currently, U.S. Forces in Afghanistan are constructing solar powered Afghan National Army outposts. By 2025, the Marines aim to slice their battlefield fuel demand in half through the use of solar-powered equipment. By developing and successfully utilizing alternative energy sources, such as wind, hydroelectric, and solar energy, the Department of Defense hopes to lead the nation in reducing reliance on fossil fuels and stimulating private sector innovation. Are alternative energy sources, such as wind and solar, gaining momentum in your area? How have alternative energy sources impacted your business?