Armed forces see rise in renewable energy

The armed forces are increasing their use of renewable-energy projects to cut down on power bills.
(Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times)

The use of clean energy technology has seen a sharp rise in military sites in the U.S., as the armed forces push into green sources of power around the country, a report said.

The Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. have looked for ways to reduce its energy bills in recent years even as the Pentagon’s budget is squeezed. Combined, the U.S. military goes through $4 billion worth of power on its bases, according to a report from Pew Charitable Trusts.

The armed forces have moved to quickly adopt green energy solutions, the report said.

Renewable-energy projects at military installations run by the Defense Department jumped 54% to 700 from 2010 to 2012, the report said. Energy-saving and efficiency projects more than doubled to 1,339 from 630 during that time.


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Phyllis Cuttino, who directs Pew’s project on national security, energy and climate, said the U.S. military was using the private sector to get projects off the ground.

“The military’s clean energy installation initiatives are gathering momentum, enhancing base energy security,” Cuttino said in a statement.

The military has taken advantage of novel financing methods created by the solar industry. Those include power-purchasing agreements, in which the solar developer pays to install panels onto rooftops and then sells the electricity generated to customers.


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