Obama Taps Clean Energy Backer For Navy Post

The U.S. military has said time and again that moving away from a reliance on fossil fuels is in its best interest, for energy security reasons and as a matter of keeping troops safe. Despite this, such efforts – particularly on the biofuels front – have caught flak from Republicans in Congress. But President Obama isn’t backing off, or so it appears based on his latest high-level Navy appointment.

The president last week nominated Dennis McGinn, a retired vice admiral and staunch renewable energy advocate, for the post of assistant secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations, and Environment.

great green fleet

image via U.S. Navy

McGinn’s name appeared in EarthTechling a couple of years ago in an article that gives a pretty good idea of the guy’s orientation when it comes to the military and renewables.

“The military knows climate change is happening and that our current energy posture is a growing threat to national security,” McGinn and three other high-ranking officials from the Army, Marines and Air Force wrote in an opinion piece. “Clean energy is a solution we must pursue.”

McGinn has been serving as the president and CEO of American Council on Renewable Energy, and as Ryan Koronowski noted on the ClimateProgress blog, has continued to speak out in favor of not just the military’s pursuit of renewable energy, but the entire nation’s. Writing in The Hill, McGinn said:

It is time all of us take a hard look at every aspect of America’s energy future and see things the way they really are. Renewable energy is an energy security and economic game-changer and needs to be treated as such. From private investment to gigawatt-scale power, clean energy is truly powering a new golden age of American energy development. It’s time for our policymakers to act and help make renewable energy’s unmatched potential a reality.

With an attitude like that, it will be interesting to see how McGinn’s Senate confirmation hearings go.

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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