The Department of Defense Goes Green

Written By Brianna Panzica

Posted September 23, 2011

One thing the clean technology sector could use as a boost is support from the U.S. government, especially now that the European debt crisis is hurting the industry.

Well, it’s starting to look like that’s what it will be getting.

A report released Thursday by the Pew Charitable Trusts outlined the energy usage by the Department of Defense and the Department’s revamped energy policy.

It revealed pretty raw details about the energy usage, naming the Department of Defense as the single largest consumer of fossil fuels in the United States, CNET said.

Just as an example, the DOD consumed 300,000 barrels of oil a day in 2009, and in 2010 the Department spent $15.2 billion on energy – $11 billion of which was on liquid petroleum, the article states.

Even more alarming is that 80% of supply convoys in Iraq and Afghanistan are for the transportation of fuels.

As CNN reports, in 2010 alone there have been 1,100 attacks on these convoys.  And between 2003 and 2007, 3,000 soldiers died from these attacks just in Iraq.

But luckily the Department of Defense is fed up with these numbers, and alongside this report comes the new energy policy.

By 2025, CNET says, the DOD is aiming to get 25% of its energy from renewable sources.

Steps toward this, outlined in the article, will include the plan by the U.S. Air Force to fly 50% of domestic flights on biofuels by 2016.

The U.S. Navy will use 15% less fuel than was used in 2010 by 2020.

The U.S. Navy and U.S. Marines will also aim to get 50% of energy from alternative sources by 2020.

CNN reports that the Department already has 450 renewable projects underway.

This aim will not only help cut Department spending and the threat to soldiers, but it will also play a big role in reducing foreign oil dependence and probably create a number of domestic jobs.

As CNET reports, the DOD has already raised investments in clean energy technology from $400 million in 2006 to $1.2 billion in 2009, and by 2030 it hopes to raise this again to $10 billion.

According to Mercury News, some cleantech companies are already involved in aiding the DOD.

Skyline Solar, for example, is installing solar panels on two Army bases, the article says.  Solazyme’s (NASDAQ: SZYM) algae-based fuel is being tested for use by the U.S. Navy.  And SolarCity has been assigned to install panels on military housing.

Keep an eye on these companies as the policy moves into action.

That’s all for now,


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