The future seems brighter for the US military, due to a recent study, issued by ICF International, indicating that the Department of Defense (DoD) could produce up to 7,000 megawatts (MW) of solar energy on military bases located in the California desert, as much power as seven giant nuclear plants would offer.
DoD has announced its eagerness to boost the development of renewables, making military bases more energy independent and financially stable.
The plan is to reduce the enormous energy bills reaching up to $4 billion (€3.14) on an annual basis. At the same time, such a plan is much needed since the Department of Defense has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 28% until 2020.
After analyzing the green potential of seven military bases from California and two from Nevada, experts behind this study indicated that the surfaces appropriate for solar and wind installations could generate up to 30% of the overall energy required by these facilities.
Moreover, even though only 96%
of the entire surface is suitable for this job, since the rest is the habitat of endangered species, shelters important biological resources or it is destined only for military use, it would still be enough to respond to 25% of California’s entire demand for clean, green power, set for 2015.
All in all, the study reveals that 25,000 acres are exploitable, in order to boost the development of renewable sources. Private developers could benefit from all this enormous potential without having to rely on financial support coming from DoD.
Also, such an eco-friendly investment could bring $100 million (€78m) every year for the Federal Government. This means that military bases could pay less for the amount of energy consumed and increase the usage of alternative sources without having to depend on taxpayers' money.
Furthermore, it seems that the hot spot for green development is Edwards Air Force Base, offering 24,327 acres, followed by Fort Irwin with 18,728 acres and China Lake with 6,777 acres.