Center for Strategic Communication

On December 2nd, ASP’s Andrew Holland wrote an OpEd for Energy Trends Insider, a newsletter published by Consumer Energy Report, and this OpEd was also featured in The Christian Science Monitor. The article discusses the importance of energy availability to America’s military and the recent Senate amendment restoring the military’s ability to purchase biofuels. From the article:

The US Department of Defense is the largest user of petroleum in the world. In fiscal year 2011, it used 117 million barrels of oil – almost 5 billion gallons of petroleum products in one year. This amounts to about 2 percent of the total usage of the country. This all came at a cost of $17.3 billion in 2011. This adds up to about 80 percent of the government’s total energy consumption.

For strategic and budgetary reasons, the military has identified this dependence on oil – a single point of failure – as a threat to national security. The Air Force and (especially) the Navy have embarked on a program to address this threat. Put together, the potential market for Air Force and Navy biofuels is expected to be about 700 million gallons per year by 2020. For an industry that is only just beginning to commercially produce fuel now, that will require significant investment. But it also should give investors some certainty that there will be a buyer for these fuels, so long as they are available. Once capital is made available for commercial-scale plants, this sector can grow very quickly.

On Wednesday, the Senate passed an amendment to the 2013 Defense Authorization bill that would restore the military’s ability to buy biofuels. A previous amendment by Sen. James Inhofe (R) of Oklahoma, inserted earlier this year in the committee markup, would have prohibited biofuels purchases, unless they were cheaper than petroleum fuels. Sixty two senators voted in favor of the amendment, and restored the Department of Defense’s ability to choose how it fuels and equips its forces.

The military has a long tradition of incubating and stimulating new industries, ranging from steel to the Internet, microchips to nuclear power. The advanced, drop-in biofuel industry could be the next industry that is stimulated by the military’s vast buying power.

For the full article click here.

For Andrew’s Blog on Consumer Energy Report click here.