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The various branches of the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) combine to form the single largest consumer of energy in the world, surpassing the consumption totals of more than 100 nations.

Driven by a combination of legislation, national and international policy, strategic imperatives, and operational requirements, clean technologies are moving into the mainstream of DOD spending, and the DOD is now one of the most important drivers of clean energy markets in the U.S., according to a new report from Pike Research, a part of Navigant's energy practice.

The report projects that U.S. military spending on renewable energy programs, including conservation measures, will increase steadily over the next 12 years, reaching almost $1.8 billion in 2025.

"Changes in energy policy have provided countless opportunities throughout all operations of the DOD, with examples of renewable energy projects that include targets of 1 gigawatt of renewable energy installed capacity each for the Army, Navy and Air Force by 2025, a target of 25 percent of all energy produced or procured from renewable energy sources by 2025, and development of the Navy's Great Green Fleet Strike Group powered by biofuel, nuclear power, synthetic fuels and hybrid propulsion systems," says research analyst Dexter Gauntlett.

"Most of these initiatives have gained considerable momentum, and many of the targets will be achieved," Gauntlett continues.

Renewable energy technologies can be divided into three main applications: power generation and energy efficiency at U.S. bases; transportation; and soldier power. Cleantech military applications in general face the same opportunities and obstacles as the civilian U.S. market, Pike Research says.

Although significant cost and reliability hurdles remain, technology cost reductions and the use of power purchase agreements and enhanced used lease as contracting vehicles will enable mature technologies such as solar PV, biomass, wind and geothermal power to be rapidly and cost-effectively deployed at scale during the next 12 years, according to the report.




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