US DOD to Quadruple Renewable Energy Installations by 2025
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) currently spends approximately $20 billion per year directly on energy, consuming 3.8 billion kilowatts hours (kWh) of electricity and 120 million barrels of oil per year.
The effort to reduce energy costs and reliance on fossil fuels – often purchased from countries hostile to U.S. interests – and increase energy security, particularly for forward operating bases (FOBs), is driving sweeping changes to DOD policies around energy. In particular, the DOD has ambitious plans to increase its use of renewable energy. According to a recent report from Pike Research, a part of Navigant’s Energy Practice, the total installed capacity of renewable energy sources for the U.S. military will grow from 80 megawatts (MW) in 2013 to more than 3,200 MW by 2025 – increasing more than four-fold in 12 years.
“U.S. military spending on renewable energy programs, including conservation measures, will reach almost $1.8 billion in 2025,” says research analyst Dexter Gauntlett. “This effort has the potential to not only transform the production, consumption, and transport of fuel and energy within the military; it will likely make the DOD one of the most important drivers of cleantech in the United States.”
The Army, Navy, and Air Force have each established targets of 1 gigawatt of installed renewable energy capacity by 2025. These initiatives have gained considerable momentum, according to the report, and many of the targets will be achieved. Through innovative funding models, such as power purchase agreements (PPAs) and enhanced use leases, some military installations should be able to pay the same amount or less for renewable sources of electricity as they do for retail power from the grid, depending on the technology and specific location.
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, January 28, 2013; Image: dod