Since his first term in office, President Obama has held the stance of favoring green technology innovation and becoming self-reliant on energy through alternative energy sources. True to his word, changes are being made in most industries to, at the very least, become aware of alternative solutions to traditional fuels.
One very important (and expensive) portion of our Gross Domestic Product is spent on our nation’s defense. Their invaluable service comes with a price tag of close to 700 Billion dollars annually, a budget that is greater than the next 17 countries combined. With that said, more can certainly be done to help reduce this gross spending, while at the same time keeping our country safe.
Yesterday, in a sign of approval for green technologies, the Senate voted 62-37 in favor of the Navy’s continued purchase of biofuels. The Navy already has a “Great Green Fleet” which is used for military exercises in Hawaii during the summertime. The expensive $26-per-gallon biofuel mixture used to fuel these vehicles combines cooking oil and algae blends to power ships, jets, and helicopters, and is a promising start to transition our military from oil to biofuels.
The size of our military seemingly gets larger with each passing day. Without a change to biofuels, our already excessive dependence on foreign oil will move to crippling figures. An investment in infrastructure to refine and house biofuels in both domestic and foreign bases, while initially a financial burden, will do much to save money for a sector which uses fuel in egregious but necessary amounts. In fact, “One plank of the Navy’s plan, in conjunction with the departments of Energy and Agriculture, is to spend more than $500 million to jump-start construction of refineries that could produce large volumes of biofuels.” However, with a fiscal cliff looming, spending more seems to be the last thing policymakers want to advocate.
Yet, similar to any worthwhile technology, you must invest heavily initially in order to reap dividends. At the onset, computers cost a couple thousand dollars with minimal computing capabilities. As time moved on people, became more educated on its capabilities which sparked innovation and competition, and ultimately drove the price and size of its parts downward. Now you can purchase a powerful computer an inch thick for a couple hundred dollars. An initial investment in biofuels for the military will be expensive at first. But as with computers, innovation will make biofuels cheap in the near future and will help to save a tremendous amount of the military’s budget spending on fuels moving forward. Let’s invest in these new technologies so that one day, even our military can live green and be green.