Even as Congressional leaders continue to drag their feet on clean energy and many states keep renewables-related legislation on the back burner because of the still-sluggish economy, the U.S. military continues to invest money and research into green energy.
The Pew Project on National Security, Energy and Climate said in a report released on Wednesday that U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) spending on alternative energy skyrocketed 300% between 2006 and 2009, from $400 million to $1.2 billion, and that figure is expected to top $10 billion annually by the year 2030.
The report, From Barracks to the Battlefield: Clean Energy Innovation and America’s Armed Forces, says in the past half-century, the fuel required to support each deployed American soldier has increased from five gallons daily to more than 22. Engaging in conflicts and maintaining a presence in remote corners of the globe, the DoD consumed some 300,000 barrels of oil a day in 2009, placing it among the largest institutional energy consumers in the world.
Senior commanders have come to view the military’s almost complete reliance on fossil fuels as a liability, and have embraced renewable technologies. And although solar, biofuels and other sustainable forms of energy currently account for only a small percentage of the power used by American forces, the top brass plans to step up their development and use over the next decade, while also heavily pushing energy efficiency.
Unlike Congress, which must follow a contentious political process to set national energy policy, military leaders can simply order the adoption of clean energy technologies then start in earnest.
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