US military to deploy army of renewable energy projects

Posted at August 11, 2012 » By : » Categories : News » Comments Off on US military to deploy army of renewable energy projects

The US Departments of Defense and the Interior are joining forces to develop renewable energy projects near military installations.

The Renewable Energy Partnership Plan is aimed at developing on- and offshore renewable projects in the most appropriate locations to reduce military energy costs and improve energy security.

The initiative intends to harness what a statement calls the “significant proven solar, wind, geothermal and biomass energy resources” on or near military land.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) sets out plans for the two departments to co-chair a military/industry offshore wind forum, to foster information sharing, and a working group on geothermal energy.

With the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the Defense Department will develop a pilot process for authorizing solar energy projects on several military installations in Arizona and California, including the Barry M. Goldwater Range and Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona and Fort Irwin in California.

“Our nation’s military lands hold great renewable energy potential, and this partnership will help ensure that we’re tapping into these resources with a smart and focused approach to power our military, reduce energy costs, and grow our nation’s energy independence,” says Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.

The Department of the Interior under Salazar’s leadership has been pushing forward renewable developments, including the high-profile Cape Wind project and the ‘Smart from the Start’ initiative, which is making millions of acres of public lands and offshore areas available for utility-scale solar and wind projects.

The military also has something of a record on renewable energy in recent years, with the Army investing in renewable energy and the Navy becoming a significant user of biofuels.

“Developing renewable energy is the right thing to do for national security as well as for the environment and our economy,” commented Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. “Renewable energy projects built on these lands will provide reliable, local sources of power for military installations; allow for a continued energy supply if the commercial power grid gets disrupted; and will help lower utility costs.”

The Department of Defense currently spends some $4 billion a year on its utility costs, so generating its own clean energy could deliver significant savings. By 2025, each of the military services has committed to deploying 1 GW of renewable energy on or near its installations.

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Related stories:
First commercial tidal energy project deployed in the US (7-Aug)
Plans for large-scale wind farms in US and Argentina get go ahead (10-Jul)
US Army issues $7 billion call for renewable energy contracts (7-Mar)

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