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Interior and Defense Will Work Together to Promote Renewable Energy on Federal Lands


The Department of the Interior and Department of Defense are teaming up to strengthen the nation’s energy security and reduce military utility costs. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar have signed a Memorandum of Understanding sets out the guiding concepts for the Renewable Energy Partnership Plan. A major goal is to harness the proven solar, wind, geothermal and biomass energy resources on or near Department of Defense installations across the country. Salazar says the nation’s military land holds great renewable energy potential. This partnership will help ensure these resources are tapped with a smart and focused approach to power the military, reduce energy costs and grow the nation’s energy independence. According to Panetta – developing renewable energy is the right thing to do for national security as well as for the environment and our economy. He says renewable energy projects built on these lands will provide reliable, local sources of power for military installations, allow for a continued energy supply if the commercial power grid gets disrupted, and will help lower utility costs. With these goals in mind – each of the Military Services has committed to deploy one-gigawatt of renewable energy on or near its installations by the year 2025.

According to a White House news release – Defense Department installations encompass roughly 28-million acres in the United States. About 13-million acres are located in the west and are high in wind, solar and geothermal resources. Offshore wind also is an abundant renewable energy resource available to many installations on the Atlantic coast, Pacific coast, Gulf of Mexico and in Hawaii. Offshore Atlantic winds alone could produce an estimated one-thousand-gigawatts of energy.

Among other things – the MOU establishes a framework for an offshore wind partnership within which Interior and Defense will continue to work together to identity areas most appropriate for offshore wind development. It also provides a blueprint for cooperation between the two departments to identify lands for mission-compatible development of onshore renewable energy projects on Department of Defense installations. The Department of Defense will also explore ways in which renewable energy could be provided directly to a single installation or may be transmitted across a network of installations.


Source: NAFB News service