Military Wants More Renewable Energy, in the Right Places

The Department of Defense has been a major supporter of renewable energy development, both within the military and for the country as a whole. Military experts see our dependence on oil as a national security issue, and renewable energy as a necessary tool for more efficient operations here and abroad.

Unphased by the political gamesmanship surrounding clean energy, the military–America’s most trusted public institution, according to a recent Gallup poll--is getting down to the real business of scaling up our country’s clean energy supply. 

Today, the DoD joined NRDC announced the launch of an important new mapping tool that will help ensure that energy development can move forward in locations that do not interfere with military activities or with environmentally sensitive landscapes.

Finding appropriate locations for renewable energy projects is a concern shared by developers, the military, and environmental groups. All three parties have a particular interest in the American West, where renewable resources are plentiful, the military has a large geographic footprint, and some of America's greatest natural treasures are located. 

The planning tool, called the Renewable Energy and Defense (READ) Database, compiles public geospatial data on DoD base locations, flight training routes, testing and training ranges, radars, and other essential DoD activities, as well as information on environmentally sensitive areas in the Western United States., such as Congressionally-designated wilderness, areas of critical environmental concern, national monuments, and roadless areas. The database also incorporates data from other federal agencies such as the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Park Service.

Using the READ-Database in conjunction with DoD’s Energy Siting Clearinghouse – a program that allows developers to communicate directly with DoD regarding potential siting conflicts – developers now have access to a critical set of data that will better inform siting decisions, and ideally help avoid costly delays and conflicts.

David Belote, Executive Director of the DoD Siting Clearinghouse, praised the unusual partnership behind this effort, saying, “The READ-Database promises to facilitate project planning, protect critical military capabilities, and promote an energy-secure future.”

We all understand how important scaled-up renewable energy is to our nation's future, not only for our national security but in terms of job creation and environmental protection. NRDC is proud to have partnered with DoD on this important project, which brings us one step closer to the clean energy future we all envision.