Senate Approves Renewables Mandate for Department of Defense

U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) hailed the Senate’s passage of his amendment to increase the Department of Defense’s consumption of renewable energy — a measure that sets a statutory goal for the department of acquiring 25 percent of its electric from renewable energy sources by the year 2025.

The Department of Defense currently acquires more than eight percent of its electricity from renewable sources. The Menendez measure, co-sponsored by Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), is an amendment to the Department of Defense Authorization bill and was passed Tuesday by the Senate with unanimous consent. As of press time, the status of the bill in the House was unclear. A complementary version would have to be passed in the House and then reconciled with the passed Senate version before this could be made law. “As the federal government’s largest consumer of energy, the Defense Department can be at the vanguard of renewable energy consumption,” Menendez said. “The federal government must lead by example if more American businesses and families are to increase their usage of renewable energy.” The Department of Defense is the federal government’s most prolific user of electricity, using 55 percent of the government’s total consumption. By using renewable sources of electricity, the Defense Department would greatly impact the government’s overall demand for electricity. Renewable sources of energy include wind, solar, biomass, landfill gas, ocean, geothermal, municipal solid waste, and new hydroelectric generation capacity. The Defense Department has made great strides toward increasing its usage of renewable energy sources. In 2005, DOD generated more than eight percent of its electricity from renewable sources, and issued an internal memo encouraging the different service branches to pursue a goal of generating — or acquiring — 25 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025. The Menendez amendment codifies this goal.
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