The US Military: Winning the renewable war | Renewable Energy

Resilient, sustainable and adequate sources of energy are key elements of the energy strategy of the US armed forces. In recent years, that kind of fuel includes renewable energy. While environmental issues may not necessarily be the main driving forces for the US Department of Defense (DoD) when it comes to energy, the US military, the country’s major institutional energy consumer, acknowledges that renewable energy is often safer than fossil fuels in meeting its needs.

The US military consumes over 100mn barrels of oil per year, which leaves troops exposed to enemy attacks. Besides, vulnerability of oil prices and a potential rise in global oil demand raises concerns within the DoD regarding its ability to access reliable fuel sources during its critical missions.

Many military leaders admit that climate change poses national and international security threats, contributing to more social, political and economic instability of vulnerable countries and necessitating troop deployments. The military sees climate change as an accelerant of global conflicts. In practical terms, DoD realises that an over-reliance on fossil fuels could undermine its resilience during a power grid failure or reduce its fighting capability if energy supplies are compromised at the time of war.

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“The military recognises the importance of renewable energy in achieving their missions in more effective ways,” says Galen Nelson, Director of Innovation at the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, who collaborates with military leaders in the Bay State on clean energy projects. “Military leaders are committed to incorporating clean energy into their assets, not least because the cost of renewable energy has come down dramatically in recent years.” While the military has no plans to fully do away with fossil fuels, support for renewable energy has risen in all branches of the US Armed Forces.

The Pentagon relies on renewables both for military…

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