Mabus Touts Increased Efficiency in Navy Energy

WASHINGTON, Aug. 23, 2011 — Short­ly after Navy Sec­re­tary Ray Mabus took office in 2009, he issued a series of dar­ing decrees: the Navy must make seri­ous head­way in becom­ing ener­gy-effi­cient.

Now, two years lat­er, the Navy is well on its way to increased effi­cien­cy and ener­gy inde­pen­dence. Mabus joined a “DOD Live” blog­gers round­table yes­ter­day to dis­cuss the Navy’s progress and explain his ener­gy goals for the Navy. 

“The most over­ar­ch­ing, or the broad­est one, was that by no lat­er than 2020, at least half of all Navy ener­gy — both afloat and ashore — would come from non­fos­sil fuel sources,” he said. “I did this to address a vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty. We sim­ply buy too much petro­le­um from either poten­tial­ly or actu­al­ly volatile places on Earth, and we need to address that vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty to reduce our depen­dence on for­eign sources of oil.” 

Mabus said ener­gy inde­pen­dence should be a high strate­gic pri­or­i­ty for the mil­i­tary. Too many unsta­ble gov­ern­ments are mak­ing mon­ey off of the Amer­i­can mil­i­tary through fuel sales, he said, and embrac­ing alter­na­tive fuel sources also serves tac­ti­cal purposes. 

“We import gaso­line, more than any sin­gle sub­stance, into Afghanistan,” he explained. “For every 50 con­voys of fuel, we lose a Marine, either killed or wound­ed. That is sim­ply too high a price to pay.” 

In addi­tion, he said, ener­gy ini­tia­tives now save a Marine com­pa­ny almost 700 pounds of bat­ter­ies by using solar blan­kets to pow­er some equipment. 

Progress will begin show­ing out­ward­ly very soon, Mabus said. The Navy launched the first hybrid ship, the USS Makin Island, which uses an elec­tric dri­ve for speeds under 12 knots. On its maid­en voy­age from Pascagoula, Miss., to San Diego, its home port, it used more than $2 mil­lion less fuel than com­pa­ra­ble non­hy­brid ships, Mabus said. 

The Navy also is prepar­ing to demon­strate the “Great Green Fleet,” a car­ri­er strike group that sails on non­fos­sil fuel sources. Its attached air wing also will use non­fos­sil fuels. Demon­stra­tions will begin in 2012; the Great Green Fleet will be deployed by 2016. 

“I’m absolute­ly con­fi­dent that we’re going to meet these goals that have been set for­ward,” Mabus said. 

Mabus has worked with Agri­cul­ture Sec­re­tary Tom Vil­sack and Ener­gy Sec­re­tary Steven Chu to help estab­lish a nation­wide bio­fu­el industry. 

“We used the Defense Pro­duc­tion Act, which says that if you have an indus­try which is vital to nation­al secu­ri­ty that is not exis­tent in the Unit­ed States, that the gov­ern­ment can step in and part­ner with pri­vate busi­ness in order to get that sort of busi­ness up and run­ning,” Mabus said. 

The Navy, Agri­cul­ture and Ener­gy depart­ments are con­tribut­ing about $500 mil­lion in “already-exist­ing mon­ey,” Mabus said, to pur­chase mate­ri­als from busi­ness­es that can help to estab­lish the new indus­try. Among those poten­tial pur­chas­es are con­tract pro­pos­als for 450,000 gal­lons of bio­fu­els for Navy research and devel­op­ment. It will be one of the largest bio­fu­el pur­chas­es made in the Unit­ed States, the Navy sec­re­tary told the blog­gers par­tic­i­pat­ing in the roundtable. 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →