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Military and business leaders agree clean energy is good for America

Peter Lehner

Posted May 10, 2012 in Moving Beyond Oil

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Military experts understand that smart decisions are neither red, nor blue…nor even green, for green’s sake. Climate change and clean, efficient energy are a matter national security and economic vitality. According to Lt. General John Castellaw USMC (retired):

Moving away from traditional energy sources is not about being “green.” It is about preventing operational impact due to cost and availability of fossil fuels and the strategic need to secure fuel sources in unstable regions where our economy sends $1 billion a day to pay for oil.

This kind of common sense is a breath of fresh air—and also consistent with the military’s long history of rejecting politics and other superficial differences, like race. The Department of Defense (DoD) abolished segregation in 1948, leading the way for the integration of schools, neighborhoods and the civilian work force. Perhaps we can unite again today behind the military’s climate and clean energy pragmatism.

 desegregation in military.jpg

Above: The U.S. military abolished segregation in 1948, years before Congress finally desegregated neighborhoods and schools. Today, the military is moving forward on clean energy while Congress is stalling.

Last month, NRDC’s affiliate Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) traveled to DC to speak with the House and Senate Armed Services Committees as they begin work on the annual National Defense Authorization Act. (See E2’s letter to the House in support of the military’s clean energy security initiatives here.) It was a tremendous honor this year to include General Castellaw and another military veteran, E2 member Jon Gensler, among our delegation.

E2 is a national, non-partisan community of individual business leaders who advocate for good environmental policy while building economic prosperity. Collectively, E2 members manage over $90 billion of private equity capital, and have helped create 1,100 companies and 500,000 jobs.

 Team Nicole.jpg

From left: E2 Co-Founder Nicole Lederer, General John Castellaw, E2 Member John Cheney, E2 Member Erin Geegan, and E2 Member Laney Thornton

Over the past year, E2 has engaged with the military to understand their objectives and to keep members abreast of DoD’s work on bases across the country. These efforts will be good for business, as well as national security and the environment.

DoD-driven demand for innovation and the drive to make military bases more efficient are creating thousands of civilian jobs across the country. These investments are also helping to push the U.S. back to the forefront of the global clean technology market, and speeding up the process of commercialization.

Some of the specific measures listed in Title 28 of last year’s National Defense Authorization bill included:

  • Identification of energy-efficient products for use in construction, repair, or renovation of Department of Defense facilities.
  • Metering of Navy piers to accurately measure energy consumption.
  • Requirement for Department of Defense to capture and track data generated in metering Department facilities.
  • Consideration of energy security in developing energy projects on military installations using renewable energy sources.
  • Use of centralized purchasing agents for renewable energy certificates to reduce cost of facility energy projects using renewable energy sources and improve efficiencies.

We are encouraged by DoD’s tremendous leadership, and are proud to stand by the military in support of these efforts. General Castellaw remarked after the trip:

The E2 Hill engagement carried the message to key legislators and staffers that clean energy is a priority for our military because it is a matter of America's national security. Having businessmen and military professionals standing together sends a strong message.

We agree wholeheartedly. Thank you to General Castellaw and others who are leading the path to a clean energy future.

Check out my other posts about DoD’s climate and clean energy action here on Switchboard:

  •  Military moves ahead on smart energy investments - and there's "not a shred of political correctness" to it (click here)
  • Military Top Brass Support Clean Energy Development: It's a Matter of National Security (click here)
  • Military Wants More Renewable Energy, in the Right Places (click here)
  • The Department of Defense Knows Clean Energy Is a Smart Investment (click here)

Lastly, special acknowledgements to army vet Ben Dunay for the great comments last week and fascinating story about his first-hand experience in Iraq.

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Comments

Mike STraubMay 11 2012 12:17 PM

It doesn't take a senior Pentagon official to figure this stuff out. The less money we send to foreign governments for fossil fuels, the more secure our military and nation become. Also, you're very right that it's refreshing to see someone in Washington just make a decision because it makes common sense.

Now the world will be watching to see what technologies the military embraces, I for one hope they're paying attention to Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC). It creates endless clean power from the temperature difference in shallow and deep water. It could power the Navy's furthest off ports, and save the DoD billions in the costs to run ships around the world delivering coal and oil to these bases. Not to mention put less Sailors and Marines in harms way to just deliver fossil fuels.

OTEC is gaining a lot of momentum right now, if anyone at the NRDC wants more info check out The ON Project.

http://www.theonproject.org/otec/?utm_source=NRDC&utm_medium=Blog&utm_campaign=mscomment

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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