Military and Renewable Energy Sources
It's been quite some time I have been writing on US military energy consumpion.
My best piece so far has appeared on the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists website today.
Here are some of the key messages:
Oil fuels the U.S. military's nearly 11,000 aircraft and helicopters, 200 combat and support ships, 200,000 tracked and wheeled vehicles, and 190,000 non-combat vehicles, such as trucks, passenger cars, and buses (not to mention many unmanned aerial vehicles and missiles).
The peaking of global oil production, which is expected to occur in the next few decades, will mark the beginning of the end of the oil age and will have serious implications for the U.S. military
The military is aware of its dependence on oil, and is working to increase its energy efficiency and to create viable alternative fuels such as biofuels and synthetic liquid fuels from natural gas and coal. Rising energy prices necessitate the change even more. In 2008, the Pentagon's bill for energy will total roughly $15 billion. The Pentagon has requested $3 billion more for fuel for 2009 than in 2008, and oil accounts for almost 80 percent of the military's total energy bill. The U.S. military estimates that each $10 per barrel increase in the price of oil costs the U.S. government an additional $1.3 billion dollars
The piecemeal energy approach the U.S. military is taking will not be sufficient to wean itself off oil. What the Pentagon must do PDF, if it is serious about changing its energy usage, is create a comprehensive energy consumption profile and formulate a long-term energy policy.
A grand and viable long-term energy strategy for the U.S. military is necessary due to the length of time it will take to institute future changes, develop alternative energy sources, and cycle old equipment (fuel-intensive equipment and vehicles ordered without an energy plan) out of the services. Making long-term plans now will ensure that military planners can consider energy efficiency in equipment purchasing.
I would like to hear comments from my readers, especially from the ones in the Pentagon, on this article.
When the FEMR FY 2008 figures are out in January 2009, I will post here a long (15 pages) article summing up the facts, bitter realities along with the good, the bad and the ugly.