The Department of Defense has pledged to deploy 3 GW of renewable power – including solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal – by 2025, in what the White House called one of the largest commitments to clean energy in history.
The renewable resources will appear on Army, Navy, and Air Force installations, with each military branch committing to 1 GW apiece.
The latest announcement builds on President Obama’s pledge, during his last State of the Union address, to develop 1 GW of renewable power on Navy sites by 2020. The Air Force aims to meet the renewable energy goal by 2016, and the Army by 2025, the White House said.
These commitments also support a broader DoD goal of meeting 25 percent of departmental energy needs with renewables by 2025, which Bloomberg said is part of a 2007 congressional mandate. The Defense Department has jurisdiction over 300,000 buildings with a combined 2.2 billion square feet, or about three times as much space as Wal-Mart.
The DoD will use private financing mechanisms, such as power purchase agreements, utility energy savings contracts and energy savings performance contracts, as well as enhanced-use leasing, to meet these goals at no additional cost to the taxpayer, the White House said.
In 2010 the Air Force signed an enhanced-use lease for a 500 MW solar array at Edwards Air Force Base, with construction scheduled to begin in 2013, and at that time had 30 other EUL projects in development.
Yesterday the White House also updated its progress on other renewable energy commitments stemming from the State of the Union address. These efforts include:
• The Army has opened the Ground Systems Power and Energy Lab (GSPEL) at Detroit Arsenal, to develop energy technologies for the next generation of combat vehicles. The lab will focus on the research and development of fuel cells, hybrid systems, battery technologies and alternative fuels. The partnership with private sector and universities may also lead to breakthrough technologies for passenger and commercial vehicles, the White House said.
• The DOE Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) has announced a $30 million research competition to improve the capability of generators and energy storage devices, including batteries. The project will aim to enhance the performance of hybrid energy storage modules being developed by the DoD for war-fighting equipment.
• The biofuel challenge that brings together the departments of Navy, Energy and Agriculture with private industry to advance the commercialization of drop-in biofuels for military and commercial use will host an industry roundtable on May 18 in Washington D.C.