Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Farrell says Stay the Course on DOD Energy Diversification

With the rash of stories this past year on failures of US solar companies, the lack of speedy adoption of electric vehicles, and the boom in un-conventional natural gas and oil, occasional readers of the DOD Energy Blog might wonder whether renewables and energy efficiency have lost some of their luster for operational and facilities energy applications.

Well, the June edition of National Defense leads with a piece called "New American Oil Boom: "Will it Slow DOD's Renewable Energy Momentum?" which convincingly refutes the idea that energy leaders have taken their eye off the alternative energy strategy ball. National Defense magazine has long had a strong focus on energy matters, thanks to the leadership and insight of its President, retired USAF General Larry Farrell.

Reminding us of how tightly bound the DOD remains to oil, Farrell says:
When speaking of petroleum, independence is a myth, regardless of where it comes from. The fact is that, for transportation energy, there is no diversity of supply or source.
And looks a few years into the future:
Diversity has strengths of its own. The current positive situation of domestic supply will last a few years at best — perhaps out to 2030 or so. At some point global demand and increasing difficulties to get supplies will catch up. 
Concluding with a vote of confidence that DOD leadership is still on point on energy strategy:
We have the gift of time to address the problem. Knowledgeable leaders in the Defense Department realize this. It is unlikely that they will slacken their efforts to bring solutions to operational capability. There really is no other choice. 
I believe Farrell's observations and conclusions are correct, but Dan and I would be happy to hear if you see things the same way.  Andy Bochman


nvh said...

Navy led the way away from wind to steam in the early 20th, no reason why DoD should not innovate for the lead, though the lead isn't what they seek, IMHO, it's how to do the national security job better. If they are out in front, that's where they are comfortable. Tip of the spear...

B Bergoo said...

Farrell does a good job of illustrating the broad strokes of influence that the "tether of fuel" has on the U.S., affecting the military, industry, economy, and international politics. he is justified in broadening the scope of his writing from just the perspective of operational energy security -- to do so would be to ignore the interconectedness of our nation's various energy dependecies. The DOD has more than enough reason to pursue new energy solutions, and is taking a leadership role, but such a broad problem requires a broad solution. With some of our nation's "leaders" working against any progress toward true energy security, though, the DOD will again need to pull undue weight until necessity (not opportunity) forces even the most backwards of politicians to follow suit. People like Farrell with weight in multiple arenas are those that will push this train (er, CNG powered bus?) forward.