At a forum held in Honolulu, Agriculture Deputy Secretary, Kathleen Merrigan, and Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations & Environment, Jackalyne Pfannenstiel, met to address ways to increase biofuels production and meet the Navy’s renewable energy goals. The forum comes as a result of the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the USDA and the Department of the Navy to encourage the development of advanced biofuels and other renewable energy systems.
“[W]e can use the Navy’s fleet as a catalyst to increase demand for biofuels and spur economic opportunity in rural communities throughout the country,” said Merrigan, and Pfannenstiel stated “The Department of the Navy is very energized about the partnership with the Department of Agriculture. This collaborative effort will enable us to reduce our petroleum consumption and increase our alternative energy opportunities.”
With the objective to reduce reliance on fossil fuels from volatile areas of the world, the DoN announced five energy targets for the Navy and Marine Corps, and biofuels are a major component of four of those goals. Ultimately, by 2020, the DoN aims to have half the total energy consumption for ships, aircraft, tanks, vehicles, and shore installations come from alternative sources, including ships and aircraft running on biofuels.
A variety of programs and services exist within the USDA to support renewable energy development, including rural loan and grant programs focused on developing renewable energy systems, the Biomass Crop Assistance Program, and a bioenergy research program. The DoN will work collaboratively with the USDA to leverage these programs as part of their program to achieve alternative energy goals. [Read USDA release]