Defense Department Speeds Clean Energy Move: Report

September 28, 2011

The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) is accelerating clean energy innovations to reduce risks to the military, enhance energy security, and save money, according to a report released September 21 by The Pew Charitable Trusts. DOD's clean energy investments increased 300% to $1.2 billion between 2006 and 2009. And the report, From Barracks to the Battlefield: Clean Energy Innovation and America's Armed Forces, projects clean energy spending will reach more than $10 billion annually by 2030.

DOD's priorities for energy efficiency and renewable energy sources have been driven by recent experience in Iraq and Afghanistan, where fuel shipments account for 80% of all supply convoys. The report finds that 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, and compliance with federal energy policies.

The Pew report documents how DOD is helping accelerate the development and deployment of clean energy technologies in three key areas: vehicle efficiency, advanced biofuels, and energy efficiency and renewable energy at bases. DOD spending to harness clean energy technologies for air, land, and sea vehicles is projected to grow to $2.25 billion annually by 2015. The branches of the military are also embracing the use of advanced biofuels. For example, the Air Force intends to use biofuels for 50% of its domestic aviation needs by 2016, and the department is speeding up research and testing of biofuels. And, DOD is looking to improve energy efficiency in its more than 500,000 buildings and structures at 500 major installations around the world. Currently, DOD has 450 ongoing renewable energy projects that are producing or procuring 9.6% of its energy from clean sources in fiscal year 2010. See the Pew press release and the full reportPDF.