Pentagon, Interior Team for Renewable Energy Initiative; Panetta, Salazar Comment

The departments of Defense and Interior are partnering to promote development of renewable energy projects on public lands set aside for defense-related usage as well as other locations near military installations.

According to a Pentagon release Monday, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar signed a memorandum of understanding to outline the departments’ roles and responsibilities.

The goal is to control and harness solar, wind, geothermal and biomass energy resources on or near defense installations in the U.S., the Pentagon said.

Both departments will co-chair an offshore wind forum this fall for military and industry to collaborate on how to share information between the military, civilian and industrial sectors.

“Under our ‘Smart from the Start’ approach to spurring renewable energy development, we are making millions of acres of public lands and offshore areas available that have the greatest potential for utility-scale solar and wind projects and the fewest resource conflicts,” Salazar said in a release.

Panetta said his department wants to provide military installations local sources of power and create a continuous energy supply in case the commercial grid is disrupted.

According to the Pentagon, the department’s utility bill runs to nearly $4 billion per year.

Military installations reside on nearly 28 million acres in the U.S., with nearly 13 million acres located in the west and containing large amounts of wind, solar and geothermal resources, the Pentagon said.

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