A View from Kevin Bullis
Energy Agency Partnering with the Military
The Secretary of the Navy says better batteries and electric grids will help protect soldiers.
The Secretary of the Navy, Raymond Mabus, said at an Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (ARPA-E) conference today that the agency and the military will partner on two energy projects. One is to develop better energy storage systems for soldiers in the field and for powering electrical systems on ships. The DOD and ARPA-E have requested $25 million for each for 2012. The military will also work with an existing grid storage program at ARPA-E to improve electric grids at bases.
The funding could be a boon for the Agency, which has not received regular funding since it was authorized in 2007 (it’s been running on Recovery Act funds). At the conference this week, Mabus and others made a strong case that energy research should be funded as a way of helping to maintain national security. Mabus said that dependence on oil makes soldiers “too susceptible to supply and price shocks,” and that protecting supply lines for transporting fuel results in large numbers of casualties. He has set a goal that the Navy and Marines will use non-fossil fuels for half of their energy by 2020.