US defence forces are embracing clean energy sources but a strong policy framework is needed to put a price on carbon and help renewable technologies on a greater scale, according to the Pew Charitable Trust.
In its Reenergizing America’s Defense report, Pew said the US military – which uses 80 per cent of all energy consumed by the US government – is leading the way on deploying clean energy sources and has initiated ambitious clean energy programmes.
‘But more must be done to mirror the ingenuity and foresight of the military. A strong policy framework that puts a price on carbon, invests in energy innovation and helps deploy low-cost, low carbon energy sources will strengthen the economic, environmental and national security of our nation,’ the report said.
United States Defense Secretary Robert Gates has previously identified energy as one of the military’s top-25 transformational priorities, with a goal of producing or procuring 25 per cent of its electric energy needs from renewable sources by 2025.
Major projects are underway in each division of the armed forces with the navy developing a carrier strike group that will run solely on alternative fuels by 2016 and the army constructing a 500MW solar power generation plant in California.
In addition, the US Marine Corps has launched the 10X10 campaign aimed at reducing energy intensity, water consumption and increasing the use of renewable electric energy.
Phyllis Cuttino, director climate and energy programmes at Pew, said the military is leading the way and helping to reenergise US energy consumption.
‘National security experts have been clear in their warnings – America’s dependence on foreign sources of energy constitutes a threat – militarily, diplomatically and economically,’ Cuttino said.
The US Department of Defense has an annual budget of $20bn and incurs more than $1.3bn in additional energy costs for every $10 increase in oil barrel price.
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