Costly Renewable Energy Regulations Prevent Our Military From Doing Its Job

Posted on Thu 05/19/2016 by

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By Rachel Zissimos ~

The Obama administration is aggressively defending costly renewable energy initiatives for the Department of Defense.

These requirements mandate that the Department of Defense produce or procure “not less than 25 percent” of its facility energy from renewable energy sources by fiscal year 2025.

The Department of Defense has invested large amounts of money in renewable energy sources that threaten access to stable and reliable electricity, and increase energy spending. (Photo: U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Jeffrey Belovarac)

The Department of Defense has invested large amounts of money in renewable energy sources that threaten access to stable and reliable electricity, and increase energy spending. (Photo: U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Jeffrey Belovarac)

By forcing its political agenda onto the military, the Obama administration prioritizes inefficient renewable energy initiatives at the expense of U.S. military strength and taxpayers.

In 2014, the Department of Defense issued a directive that stated it is the policy of the Department of Defense to improve energy security and military capability in part through diversification and expansion of “energy supplies and sources, including renewable energy sources.”

The problem with this is that diversification of energy sources by itself does not ensure energy security. In fact, it can actually harm security if the diversification effort creates new vulnerabilities.

As a result of these mandates, the Department of Defense has invested large amounts of money in renewable energy sources that threaten access to stable and reliable electricity, and increase energy spending.

The actual costs of these renewable energy initiatives are largely hidden, sheltered in a range of tax incentives, grants, subsidies, third party financing mechanisms, and capability limitations that regularly evade reporting requirements.

Without this information, it is impossible to provide a frame of reference on which to assess the costs and contributions of renewable energy generation.

Most of the Department of Defense’s installation energy initiatives have also failed to address the stated priority of energy security, that is to make energy sources on which military installations depend more secure, not less so.

A 2016 Government Accountability Office report found:

[t]he processes to evaluate projects for funding generally do not consider energy security in prioritizing those to receive funding, and officials from all four military services stated that there is no military service or DOD guidance related to evaluating projects for funding that focuses on energy security.

Furthermore, wind and solar create power fluctuations that can damage equipment connected to the system and create safety and reliability concerns within the larger network infrastructure.

Unless the Department of Defense can clearly show that renewable energy sources provide a financial or operational advantage, continued investment in such on military installations will waste defense dollars and resources.

As debate continues over the National Defense Authorization Act, lawmakers should focus on rebuilding military strength and allocate funds toward projects that actually improve the military’s ability to address real defense priorities, rather than using tax dollars to pursue highly questionable renewable energy mandates.

Rachel Zissimos is a Research Assistant for National Security and Defense Studies at The Heritage Foundation . http://www.heritage.org/

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