A new report from the clean tech research firm Pike Research confirms a trend that has been percolating along mainly under the radar: the U.S. Department of Defense is gung ho for clean energy. In an interesting twist, Pike states that “increased access to clean and reliable energy has become a leading priority for the U.S. Department of Defense.” By stressing the reliability of clean energy, rather than focusing on the renewable aspect, Pike effectively steamrolls over any further discussion of whether or not the U.S. should continue to promote oil drilling, at least not for national defense purposes.
The U.S. DoD and The End of Oil
Officials up and down the chain of command at DoD have been forthcoming about the need for the U.S. military to transition out of oil and into safer and more readily available forms of energy. They don’t mean just ditching foreign-sourced oil in favor of more domestic offshore drilling, tar sands extraction, or exploitation of oil fields in wilderness conservation areas. They mean oil, period.
Climate Change, Fossil Fuels and National Defense
DoD has recognized that climate change is real, and climate change is a national defense issue. In addition to affecting military operations, climate change can raise new humanitarian aid responsibilities for the military, and affect base operations especially in coastal areas. Even if you put climate change aside, the need to find a better way is imperative, according to military officials who have been attempting to educate legislators regarding the extraordinary expense and risk to troops involved in transporting fossil fuels.
A Clean Energy Future for Civilians, Too
Pike notes that “energy is the lifeblood of the U.S. military.” DoD is driving the market for clean energy, and the Obama Administration is pushing the civilian end with federal support for clean tech research, electric vehicles, wind power, and solar power. Linking the military and civilian world is a vast pool of U.S. soldiers and other military personnel, who are cycling in and out of their home communities with an increased exposure to and respect for the advantages of clean, renewable energy. The “drill baby, drill” crowd is going down hard, but it is inevitably going down.
Image: Solar installation at military base by Lance Cheung on flickr.com. This solar installation powers the runway lights at Ascension Island, which is 1,000 miles away from the nearest land.
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