It’s no secret that the United States needs oil. In 2012, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the United States consumed an average of 18.6 million barrels per day of oil and petroleum products. Further, in that same year, around 40% of net imports of oil were from foreign sources. This indicates that the United States is partially dependent on trade with other nations in order for our country to thrive, especially when it comes to oil, and this can ultimately be dangerous.
The U.S. Department of Defense is also reliant on oil, which could be problematic if we are reliant on a single source of energy. With other options, such as an increase in the use of solar energy or other renewable avenues, the military and America itself may have other choices instead of oil. Without that reliance, if anything were to happen to our foreign oil supply, citizens and military personnel alike would not be nearly as at risk.
Another issue with reliance on oil is the nature of the energy supply. If we rely on physical resources, we will have physical locations that are at risk. Coal mines or oil refineries are large and isolated and would be an excellent target for threats. Comparatively, solar panels can be widely distributed to individual homes, buildings, or businesses—and if one is compromised, the rest still stand.
The military has already noticed the potential benefits of renewable resources like solar energy and has been making the switch. According to Executive Order 13693, the federal government is committed to having 30% of their electricity come from renewable energy sources by 2025. As of 2014, renewable energy sources accounted for about 8.76% of the federal government’s energy consumption.
Even the Commander in Chief has made changes and had solar panels installed at the White House. As President Obama and our federal government have indicated, it can be a wise step in the direction of national security and ultimately of energy security to invest in solar energy and other renewable resources. Especially here at Semper Solaris, where we have deep commitment to and experience with the military, we look forward to see the steps that the military makes in favor of diversifying its energy options.