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Pentagon Needs to Set Interim Renewable Energy Goal, under Policy Bill

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  • December 14, 2011
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To keep the department on track to acquire at least 25 percent of its electrical energy consumption from renewable sources by 2025, DOD would be required to set an interim goal for its reliance on renewable energy, under the conference agreement for the fiscal 2012 defense authorization bill completed Monday.

The defense secretary would need to inform Congress what the interim goal is within 180 days after the legislation is enacted. As of fiscal 2010, the military’s 450 renewable energy projects allowed it to produce or procure 9.6 percent of its electric energy consumption from clean sources, including solar, wind, geothermal and biomass energy, according to a recent report from the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Another provision in the bill would require the secretary to establish guidance requiring the services to give “favorable consideration” to energy security in the design and development of on-base projects that use renewable energy sources. Essentially, installation officials would need to favor projects that provide power directly to a military facility or into the installation electrical distribution network. In a separate provision, energy security is defined as “having assured access to reliable supplies of energy and the ability to protect and deliver sufficient energy to meet mission essential requirements.”

The secretary would need to notify Congress, and provide a cost-benefit analysis, if the department enters into an agreement for a facility energy project that does not pursue energy security due to cost considerations. The secretary’s guidance also would address planning measures installation commanders should take to minimize the effects of a disruption in services provided by a utility.

The provision is similar to language in both the House and Senate versions of the bill. In explaining its provision, the House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee said it was concerned when DOD “contracts for renewable energy projects through third parties on military installations that have no capability to provide power directly to the installation in case of emergency.”

The conference report for H.R. 1540 is available on the website of the House Rules Committee.

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