Department of Defense supports green energy development

December 4, 2012

Not many people would associate the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) with green energy initiatives. However, one of the nation's largest agencies and energy consumers in the world has sought after and worked to develop numerous green energy initiatives.

On November 28, 2012, the Senate voted to back an amendment that would delete a provision in a defense bill that prohibited the military from spending money on alternative fuels if costs exceeded tradition fuel sources, including coal, natural gas and oil. 

"It should tell us something that in an era of reduced Defense Department budgets, our senior leaders remain fully committed to [the] effort [to switch to alternative fuel]. We should support them in these commonsense approaches," said Senator Mark Udall, D-Colo., sponsor of the amendment.

The DOD has partnered with numerous organizations to support green energy developments. For example, the Office of Naval Research has partnered with various energy firms to develop and research alternative forms of energy. Projects range from developing new heating solutions to improving engineering centers.

"As one of the largest landowners and energy consumers in the world, our drive is to be more efficient and environmentally sustainable," Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said in a speech in May to the Environmental Defense Fund. "We have to be able to have the potential to transform the nation's approach to the challenges we are facing in the environment and energy security. We've got to look ahead to try to see how we can best achieve that."

The DOD consistently seeks new groups to partner with to help develop green energy solutions and improve the incorporation of sustainable technology in commercial structures. The Energy Efficient Buildings Hub (EEB Hub) was established by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as an Energy-Regional Innovation Center. The organization strives to improve the energy efficiency of buildings and promote regional economic growth.

The combined efforts of these two organizations and others will boost the incorporation of green energy resources in various sectors. The DOD has committed itself to the development of sustainable practices, in part, because it consumes such a large amount of energy. The agency consumes approximately 330,000 barrels of oil a day, and the DOD has already spent roughly $15 billion on fuel in 2012.

Reducing operational expenses drives the support of alternative fuel sources, regardless of whether it’s a commercial property or the efforts of a massive component of the U.S. government.