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June 13, 2011

U.S. Military Use of Renewable Energy to Grow by $25 Billion within 20 Years, Says Pike Research



According to a new report from Boulder, Colorado-based Pike Research (News - Alert), military spending on renewable energy technologies will continue to rise rapidly over the next two decades, growing from $1.8 billion per year in 2010 to $26.8 billion by 2030.

The various branches of the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), as an organization, combine to form the single largest consumer of energy in the world – more than any other public or private entity, and greater than more than 100 other nations.

Energy consumption is the “lifeblood” of the U.S. military, according to Pike Research– as well as of the supporting governmental infrastructure that facilitates and controls it. Clean, reliable power is of pivotal importance, not only in terms of energy efficiency, but for use in all military operations across multiple domains— including base and facility operations; land, air, and sea, and transport; and portable power access for troops on the ground.

“Military investment in renewable energy and related technologies, in many cases, holds the potential to bridge the ‘valley of death’ that lies between research and development and full commercialization of these technologies,” stated Pike Research President Clint Wheelock. “As such, the myriad of military initiatives focused on fostering cleantech are anticipated to have a substantial impact on the development of the industry as a whole. This presents a sizable market opportunity for defense contractors, project developers and systems integrators, and technology developers across all renewable energy sectors.”

Pike Research’s analysis indicates that in the facilities segment, the market opportunity is largest for solar energy, followed by wind power, and geothermal. Military agencies also are using microgrids for distributed energy generation that can be “islanded” from the commercial power grid.

In the mobility sector, much of the focus is on biofuels and synfuels that can replace petrofuels for vehicles ranging from tactical vehicles, trucks, and tanks to fighter jets and naval vessels. Portable power for soldiers is also a major priority, and the DOD in particular is pursuing a variety of fuel cells and advanced battery technologies in this area.

Pike Research’s report, Renewable Energy for Military Applications, provides a comprehensive examination of military applications for renewable energy and related clean technologies including solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, hydrokinetic energy, biofuels and synfuels, fuel cells, microgrids, smart meters, and energy efficiency, among others. The study analyzes the economics and performance characteristics of emerging energy technologies across a host of application areas within the facilities, transport, and portable power domains. It includes detailed profiles of key industry players and provides detailed market forecasts through 2030.

An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the firm’s website.


Cheryl Kaften is an accomplished communicator who has written for consumer and corporate audiences. She has worked extensively for MasterCard (News - Alert) Worldwide, Philip Morris USA (Altria), and KPMG, and has consulted for Estee Lauder and the Philadelphia Inquirer Newspapers. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

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