Natural Gas Supply Puts Damper On Renewable Energy

By Michael Bruno, Graham Warwick
Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology

Against this background, the Pentagon continues efforts to drive down its energy use while fostering alternative sources. It is bringing energy into wargames—“how it can be attacked, or be an advantage,” says Burke—and including it as a key performance parameter in new procurements. The Defense Acquisition Board must now consider the energy burden in approving systems, and winning contractors are will be accountable for energy performance.

“We lost our way” during the Cold War, says Cullum. “Energy was cheap, and consumption increased,” he says, noting the Boeing P-8 uses 25% more fuel than the Lockheed P-3 it replaces, the Lockheed Martin F-35C 69% more than the Boeing F/A-18 and the F-35B 110% more than the Boeing AV-8B, while today's warships use 70% more fuel. “Energy efficiency in the military is . . . more about effectiveness for the energy input,” cautions Burke.

While the U.S. military has benefited from new renewable technologies, Burke says it will be a challenge to continue to be a pull for innovation. “The rest of the world will continue to look for renewables, and we hope it will continue on the commercial side,” she says. “On the military side, we will have to see what they can do to meet our needs.”

Tap the icon in the digital edition of AW&ST for a table of Defense Department alternative fuels contracts, or go to

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