August 8, 2012, Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Defense and Interior departments have signed a deal to boost the use of renewable energy on military land, to help strengthen energy security and reduce the military's $4 billion annual utility bill.
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that encourages appropriate development of renewable energy projects on public lands withdrawn (set aside) for defense-related purposes, and other onshore and offshore areas near military installations.
The MOU sets out the guiding concepts for the Renewable Energy Partnership Plan, the departments’ roles and responsibilities under the agreement, and how they will work together to carry out the initiative. A major goal of the partnership is to harness the significant proven solar, wind, geothermal and biomass energy resources on or near DoD installations across the country.
“Energy security is critical to our national security. Under our ‘Smart from the Start’ approach to spurring renewable energy development, we are making millions of acres of public lands and offshore areas available that have the greatest potential for utility-scale solar and wind projects and the fewest resource conflicts,” Secretary Salazar said, who announced today’s agreement on the eve of the National Clean Energy Summit 5.0. “Our nation’s military lands hold great renewable energy potential, and this partnership will help ensure that we’re tapping into these resources with a smart and focused approach to power our military, reduce energy costs, and grow our nation’s energy independence.”
“Developing renewable energy is the right thing to do for national security as well as for the environment and our economy,” Secretary Panetta said. “Renewable energy projects built on these lands will provide reliable, local sources of power for military installations; allow for a continued energy supply if the commercial power grid gets disrupted; and will help lower utility costs.”
DoD is aggressively pursuing the development of renewable energy on its installations both to improve the energy security of the installations and to reduce the Department’s $4 billion-a-year utility bill. Together with advanced microgrid technology, which DoD is testing, renewable energy will allow a base to maintain critical functions for weeks or months if the commercial grid goes down. With these operational goals in mind, each of the military services has committed to deploy 1 gigawatt of renewable energy on or near its installations by 2025.