Department of Defense Becomes Big Booster for Alternative Energy
We’ve previously noted that oil is considered a national security issue and that the Department of Defense is the biggest oil consumer on the planet.
A friend of mine is the key alternative energy promoter for one of the largest states in the U.S. He told me that he is working with the top military brass for the region to promote alternative energy, and that the military commander is extremely interested in transitioning towards more alternative energy usage.
As Dr. Kent Moors notes today, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus himself is aggressively pushing alternative energy, as are other branches of the military:
During a biofuels conference at Mississippi State University last week, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus announced that his branch would be leading the charge to lessen the Defense Department’s (DOD) dependence on fossil fuels.
As former governor of Mississippi and ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Secretary Mabus knows something about the position of oil in American foreign policy.
He noted during the conference that, for every $1 rise in the cost of crude oil, the Navy has to come up with at least $32 million.
So when the Libyan crisis hit earlier this year and oil spiked $30 a barrel, that translated into additional costs to the Navy of almost $1 billion. No wonder, then, that Mabus is committed to meeting 50% of the Navy’s onshore and fleet fuel needs from non-fossil sources by 2020.
Additionally, in what is now mantra from both sides of the political aisle, reliance on foreign oil sources presents a national security problem.
As Mabus put it, “When we did an examination of the vulnerabilities of the Navy and Marine Corps, fuel rose to the top of the list pretty fast. We simply buy too much fossil fuel from actual and potentially volatile places.”
Mabus continued, “We would never allow some of these countries we buy fuel from to build our ships, our aircraft, our ground vehicles – but because we depend on them for fuel, we give them a say in whether our ships sail, our aircraft fly, our ground vehicles operate.”
The push seems serious enough, and it does reflect similar statements coming from other branches of the military.
Look for the post-Iraq era military fuel needs to lead to resurgence in alternative fuel research and development in the U.S.