The Defense Department is the government’s energy hog. But it is the Department of Energy that is responsible for leading the government’s technology efforts in developing replacements for fossil fuels.
The military, however, should not expect much help from Energy in its efforts to come up with cleaner fuels. That is because most of the Department of Energy’s budget these days is spent on maintaining the nuclear stockpile and on environmental cleanup, not on renewable energy projects, said Dale Gardner, associate director for renewable fuels science and technology at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo.
Speaking at the Navy Energy Forum last month in McLean, Va., Gardner said his department is not in a financial position right now to offer the military much assistance in science and technology. “But there is some hope,” he added.
Of DOE’s $27 billion budget, most is spent “keeping up the nuclear stockpile and fixing the transgressions from the nuclear stockpile over the years. Then comes science,” Gardner said. “Of the total budget, maybe $4 billion to $5 billion goes to energy spread across many renewable energy programs.”