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DEFENSE COMMUNITIES 360

Renewable Energy Successes Haven’t Delivered Same Results for Energy Security

  • February 9, 2012
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DOD’s shift toward renewable energy sources has helped to cut the military’s reliance on fossil fuels, but it hasn’t necessarily boosted installations’ energy security, reports Environment & Energy Daily.

The primary culprit is that many of the military’s renewable energy projects must be turned off if the commercial grid goes down because of local utilities’ safety concerns. Installations could overcome the problem with a switch that would allow the base to disconnect from the grid, but many installations with new clean energy projects have not taken advantage of the fix, according to the story.

There is an economic component to the problem as well. Utilities charge disconnect fees, which can be significant, for the right to detach from the grid and continue generating power during an outage.

“What people don’t realize is the electrons from … geothermal don’t come to Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake. It goes onto the grid,” Capt. Jeffrey Dodson, the installation commander, said at a recent Pentagon energy security event.

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