U.S. DOD to Spend More on Renewables During Next Decade, Says Report
Energy is the lifeblood of the U.S. military. The various branches of the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) combine to form the single largest consumer of energy in the world, surpassing the consumption totals of more than 100 nations. Driven by a combination of legislation, national and international policy, strategic imperatives, and operational requirements, clean technologies are moving into the mainstream of DOD spending, and the DOD is now one of the most important drivers of clean energy markets in the United States.
According to a new report from Pike Research, a part of Navigant’s Energy Practice, U.S. military spending on renewable energy programs, including conservation measures, will increase steadily over the next 12 years, reaching almost $1.8 billion in 2025.
“Changes in energy policy have provided countless opportunities throughout all operations of the DOD, with examples of renewable energy projects that include targets of 1 gigawatt of renewable energy installed capacity each for the Army, Navy, and Air Force by 2025, a target of 25 percent of all energy produced or procured from renewable energy sources by 2025, and development of the Navy’s Great Green Fleet Strike Group powered by biofuel, nuclear power, synthetic fuels, and hybrid propulsion systems,” says research analyst Dexter Gauntlett. “Most of these initiatives have gained considerable momentum and many of the targets will be achieved.”
Renewable energy technologies can be divided into three main applications: power generation and energy efficiency at U.S. bases; transportation; and soldier power. Cleantech military applications in general face the same opportunities and obstacles as the civilian U.S. market.
While significant cost and reliability hurdles remain, technology cost reductions and the use of Power Purchase Agreements and Enhanced Used Lease as contracting vehicles will enable mature technologies such as solar PV, biomass, wind, and geothermal power to be rapidly and cost-effectively deployed at scale during the next 12 years, according to the report.
The report, “Renewable Energy for Military Applications”, examines the current status and future direction of renewable energy technology at military bases and other DOD facilities. The near-term and long-term priorities for DOD research and development are examined, along with key directives, primary drivers, and renewable energy programs for each branch of the military.
The report also analyzes major military renewable energy programs by technology, including solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, waste-to-energy, hydrokinetic and ocean energy, and fuel cells. Profiles of major defense contractors and other providers of renewable energy technology to the DOD are included as well. The report also provides forecasts of DOD expenditures on renewable energy by application and installed renewable capacity by military branch, through 2025.
Press release, September 24, 2012; Image: Greenpeace