On July 27, 2011, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI), E3G and Operation Free held a briefing in which top military and civilian experts discussed the Defense Department’s leadership on energy efficiency and renewable energy. Speakers included:
- Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) Presentation (mp3)
- Thomas Hicks, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy Presentation (mp3)
- Richard Kidd, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army, Energy and Sustainability Presentation (mp3)
- Former U.S. Army Captain Drew Sloan, Iraq and Afghanistan veteran, representing Operation Free; Fellow, Truman National Security Project Presentation (mp3)
- Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn (U.S. Navy, Ret.), President, American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE); Vice Chairman, CNA Military Advisory Board Presentation (mp3)
- Sherri Goodman, Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, CNA; Executive Director, CNA Military Advisory Board (Moderator)
Handouts: DoD’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Initiatives (EESI fact sheet) National Security and the Threat of Climate Change (CNA report) Powering America's Economy: Energy Innovation at the Crossroads of National Security Challenges (CNA report)
Audio recording of entire briefing and Q&A (mp3)
Highlights from Speaker Presentations
- The Department of Defense (DoD) is the world’s largest consumer of energy, consuming 135 million barrels of fuel and 30 million megawatt-hours of electricity at a cost of over $20 billion per year. Every $1 increase in a barrel of fuel equates to an extra $30 million in costs for the Navy.
- Sen. Mark Udall raised awareness of the DoD Energy Security Act of 2011 (DODESA), a bill which would decrease the military’s petroleum dependency by funding energy efficiency efforts, encouraging energy investments, and developing renewable standards and projects.
- DoD is undertaking mission-related energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives to save lives and money.
- An example of how the Navy incorporates energy efficiency into its operations is when ships come in to dry dock, hull and propeller coatings are checked to improve operating efficiency. New ships will be more efficient; the USS Makin Island saved $2 million in energy costs in its maiden voyage from Mississippi to San Diego.
- The Marines invited industry to show them new technologies. Winning technologies were tested in a war-gaming environment, and within six months some went into field use. Examples include solar blankets, LEDs, and renewable generators and battery systems.
- A traditional patrol needs a “battery refresh” every 2-3 days. New technologies extend the time a unit can operate independently up to three weeks. Energy security enables troops to better conduct their missions and be more resilient, flexible and independent in combat.
- This week (July 25) represents the one year anniversary of the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Departments of Defense and Energy, which has produced projects like TARDEC (Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center), fuel cell development and deployment, and other areas of cooperation.
- The Armed Services have led on a number of areas of cultural change, like smoking eradication and racial and gender integration. Energy sustainability is seen as another example of how the military can be a model for the nation. However, Richard Kidd, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for energy and sustainability, noted that the rationale to develop sustainable energy is primarily to remain operationally relevant and viable.
- Reliance on heavy batteries and generators force soldiers to be “tethered to a supply chain,” according to Army veteran Drew Sloan. New technologies, like the solar blanket, have received a positive response from soldiers using them because it offers more operational flexibility.
- Energy efficiency and renewable energy is creating a “mental shift” in the military. Soldiers who have been working with more efficient, forward thinking systems will be less accepting of status quo solutions to domestic problems like high gas prices when they return home.
- “Our energy reliance in this country is a serious threat to national security; economically, diplomatically and militarily,” according to Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn (U.S. Navy, Ret.). “The over reliance on fossil fuels can be exploited by those who wish to do the U.S. harm.”
Related Media Coverage
- The Military: Unlikely Advocate for Green? by Keith Menconi, The Epoch Times
- The Value of Sustainability to the Military: “Preventing Wars is as Important as Winning Them, and Far Less Costly” by William S. Becker, Climate Progress Blog
- The Solar Soldier Is No Fad by William S. Becker, Huffington Post
- Military Leaders Want to Save Money and Lives with Clean Energy, While GOP Leaders Want to Stop Them by Stewart Boss, Climate Progress Blog