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Energy and Defense Departments Announce New Steps to Enhance Cooperation on Clean Energy and Energy Security

March 2, 2011 - 12:00am

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Washington, D.C. - Building on already strong cooperation between the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced today new steps between the Departments to strengthen national security through the continued development of advanced clean energy technologies.

Furthering the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) announced last summer the new steps being announced today strengthen coordination and better leverage the expertise and resources of both Departments to enhance our national energy security, as well as demonstrate the Obama Administration's leadership in transitioning America to a clean energy economy.

"Advances in innovation are helping to solve our military challenges, protect our troops, and enhance our national security.  At the same time, these efforts have the potential to yield spin-off technologies with both military and civilian applications that will help create jobs in the U.S. and speed America's transition to a clean energy economy," said Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman.  "Our joint efforts in everything from advanced vehicles to energy storage to grid security are protecting our men and women in uniform, promoting America's economic prosperity, and improving our environment."

"The steady march of technology has created a voracious appetite for energy.  A Marine platoon in Vietnam took 2 or 3 radios on patrol, now a squad in Afghanistan takes over 10.  On our ships, the ability to maintain steady, uninterrupted power, even if damaged, is absolutely critical for success.  We need the ability to effectively store the energy we create - to be able to use it when it's needed, and to use it where it's needed," said Secretary Mabus.

The Department of Defense's Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research & Engineering (ASDR&E) aims to take advantage of early technology breakthroughs funded through the Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E). Using ARPA-E's technical expertise in grid scale energy storage, batteries for electric vehicles, and power electronic, ASDR&E plans to develop an energy storage device that will provide future defense systems with long duration storage suitable for a variety of applications, including military bases and vehicles and eventually commercial grids. 

Cost effective energy storage is also of interest to DOD's Installations and Environment office, which will work with ARPA-E to assess the technology requirements for storage across military installations.   Vulnerability to energy supply disruption is a significant challenge for facilities dependent on the commercial power grid, and backup power is both limited and expensive. Onsite renewable electricity generation combined with grid scale storage would allow installations to maintain critical functions in the event of grid disruption and enhance installations' efforts to develop micro-grids for energy security.

The joint efforts announced today plan to be initiated during the 2012 fiscal year.

Media contact(s):

(202) 586-4940

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