Generating Security: Resilient, Renewable Power for U.S. Military Installations

Generating Security: Resilient, Renewable Power for U.S. Military Installations
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Executive Summary

This paper explores opportunities for the U.S. military to use its renewable energy procurement to achieve energy security for its domestic facilities. Power outages caused by extreme weather and intentional attack pose a major risk to U.S. military bases. In order to maintain its missions abroad and support its expanding mission on U.S. soil, the Department of Defense (DoD) will need to deploy resilient energy systems that can sustain critical domestic operations during blackouts. All four military services have adopted renewable energy targets in response to federal legislation and Executive Orders and are installing on-base renewable energy. Renewable energy sources such as wind and solar can provide bases with an unlimited and local source of power during grid disruptions. Current procurement policies and practices, however, do not provide a clear model for integrating renewable energy and energy security. In order to scale-up the integration of renewable energy into back-up power systems and microgrids, the DoD should consider the following recommendations:

Support enhanced energy security planning.

Each installation should determine the pathway to energy security on their individual facility. A ranking of facility criticality and energy back up requirements should be included as part of this master planning exercise, and renewable energy sources available to meet those needs should be identified.

Empower energy managers.

Base energy managers are in the best position to support the scale-up of renewable energy configured to provide energy security. Providing energy managers with increased authority and funding will empower them to enact policies and changes that will better lay the groundwork for resilient installations. Revenues and cost savings from DoD energy investments, for example, cannot be captured and reinvested by bases. Enabling legislation to allow installations access to these funds could significantly support current and future installation energy security activities.

Create pathways to procure and fund energy security.

DoD should develop guidance for bases to procure secure renewable energy systems in a replicable way. This could include the adoption of cost-benefit analyses that recognize the value of energy security and enable resilient renewable energy systems to be procured at a premium above the price of non-secure energy. DoD should also provide funds to support projects on DoD installations that improve facility energy security. This project could mirror the existing Energy Conservation Investment Program (ECIP).

Create community partnerships.

Bases should identify opportunities to jointly pursue secure renewable energy with their local utilities and surrounding communities. There could be significant opportunities for new partnerships focusing on energy security, particularly given increasing interest in climate adaptation planning on the part of federal, state, and local governments and the reliance of DoD bases on state and local infrastructure.  


Andrea Marr has always been passionate about energy and energy efficiency issues. In her current role as a Senior Commissioning Engineer for McKinstry’s Irvine, California office, Andrea advises large institutions on energy efficiency strategies and reducing energy costs. Prior to joining McKinstry, Andrea worked for a small non-profit in Nicaragua, designing and installing wind turbines and solar panels in rural communities without access to the national grid. She is also a member of the Truman National Security Project Defense Council. Andrea graduated from the Naval Academy in 2005 with a degree in Aerospace Engineering. She served as the Gunnery Officer on two deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and as a Nuclear Engineering Officer for a third deployment. She holds an M.S. in Engineering Management from Old Dominion University where her final coursework focused on the success and failures of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building program. Andrea spent most of her childhood in Italy and speaks Italian and Spanish.
Wilson Rickerson is the CEO of Meister Consultants Group (MCG), a consulting firm focusing on sustainable energy and climate resilience. Mr. Rickerson is an expert in renewable energy policy and has supported policy development in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe, and North America. In the US, he has advised state governments, utilities, and industry organizations on policy development and strategy. At the local level, he has worked closely with Boston and New York on their renewable energy programs, and supports the US DOE's national solar cities initiatives. Internationally, he has partnered with Deutsche Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, IEA-RETD, UNEP, UNDP, and other organizations on energy and climate initiatives. He is an expert with the Clean Energy Solutions Center, serves on the Editorial Board of BioCycle Magazine, and is a Truman National Security Fellow. He holds a Masters in Energy and Environmental Policy from the University of Delaware and a B.A. from the College of William and Mary.