U.S. Military A Clean-Energy Titan, Pew Says

The respected Pew Charitable Trusts is out with a report that won’t surprise EarthTechling readers who have noticed the steady stream of stories we’ve published about the increasingly green ways of the U.S. military. That said, the paper, “From Barracks to the Battlefield: Clean Energy Innovation and America’s Armed Forces,” is valuable for pulling together the many strands of clean-energy investment the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) is doing.

For instance: Pew says DOD clean energy investments increased 300 percent between 2006 and 2009, rising from $400 million to$1.2 billion. What’s more, those investments will zoom to $10 billion annually by 2030. Pew said its report shows the military is helping to accelerate the development and deployment of clean energy technologies in three main areas: vehicle efficiencyadvanced biofuels; and energy efficiency and renewable energy at bases.

U.S. Department of Defense clean energy investment, Pew Charitable Trusts

image via Pew Charitable Trusts

Pew sees this as a good thing. And why not? “DOD’s efforts to harness clean energy will save lives, save money and enhance the nation’s energy and economic future,” said Phyllis Cuttino, director of the Pew Clean Energy Program. “Their work is also helping to spur the growth of the clean energy economy.”

Of course, some progressives who’d like to imagine a world where the United States doesn’t have a gigantic military, green or not, might feel a little conflicted about this. And on the other side of the spectrum, we’ve already seen some pushback from conservatives who see at least some of the clean-energy efforts as bunk.

You can check out the Pew report online, either the nine-page executive summary [PDF] or the 88-page full version [PDF]. And if that’s not enough, below is a Pew video that describes the report.

Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.

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