The United States military is poised to become a significant player in the emerging renewable energy economy by providing large tracts of land for solar, wind, geothermal and biomass projects. Photo courtesy of U.S. EPA.
While not central to its war-fighting mission abroad, the U.S. military is quietly becoming one of the nation's most aggressive energy innovators, retrofitting thousands of acres of military installations with renewable technologies that will help meet the bases' future power demand while also aiding host states in achieving renewable energy targets.
From commercial-scale solar installations at the Army's Fort Irwin, in the heart of California's Mojave Desert, to smaller projects such as a 30-megawatt geothermal plant at Fallon Naval Air Station in Nevada, the Pentagon perhaps more than any other federal agency has adopted the Obama administration's call for a deployment of renewable energy resources as part of a broader strategy to reduce greenhouse gases.
"The military's mission is not to battle global warming," noted Matthew Kahn, an environmental economist at the University of California, Los Angeles' Institute of the Environment. "But if the military demands renewables, that sends a clear signal to green businesses that there will be a market for their products."
"In this way, the military could unintentionally help to green our economy," Kahn added.