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OH Energy Efficiency Standards: A Matter of National Security?

PHOTO: Some Ohio veterans say attempts to freeze the state's energy efficiency measures are a matter of national security. Photo credit: deegolden/morguefile.
PHOTO: Some Ohio veterans say attempts to freeze the state's energy efficiency measures are a matter of national security. Photo credit: deegolden/morguefile.
April 29, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Beyond concerns that Ohio Senate Bill 310 on energy standards would hurt economic growth and raise energy bills, those opposed to the measure say it's also a matter of national security. The bill would freeze the state's renewable-energy and energy-efficiency requirements to block further tightening of standards.

In a recent review, the Department of Defense identified climate change as a threat to national security, and retired U.S. Coast Lt. Commander Robert Shields says that's among the reasons the military is investing heavily in energy conservation and renewable sources of energy.

"How can the Senate suggest that we freeze our renewable energy and energy conservation standards, saying we need to stay with coal or other extracted fossil fuels when the armed forces of the United States is saying that's contributing to our national security threat?", he asked.

Shields, who is chairman of the Sierra Club Ohio Chapter, says these standards help the military to move toward cleaner technologies, which can reduce the political instability and conflict created by climate change.

Retired U.S. Army Colonel Peter Mansoor, who served as executive officer to General David Petraeus in Iraq and is now a professor of military history at Ohio State, says reducing energy consumption is a priority of the armed forces.

"A lot of our military force is used to protect oil supplies and energy supplies around the globe," he pointed out. "Obviously, the more that we can become self-sufficient in energy and reduce its use the better it would be for our national security."

Robert Shields adds that many military bases have projects that improve their energy reliability, including a LEED Gold certified operations center at the Cleveland Coast Guard and a solar project at the 180th Fighter Wing base in Toledo.

"It's a 1.2 megawatt solar array, which is providing over 35 percent of the electrical energy needed," he said. "They don't have to pay for the energy; tax payer savings."

Peter Mansoor says that with the threat of climate change, sustainability is critical for the future.

"The military is experimenting to either make engines more fuel-efficient or to use fuel cell technologies to really lead on the cutting edge of trying to reduce the energy consumption in our armed forces."

Supporters of the Senate measure say the standards hurt the economy and are costly to energy companies, but those opposed say the standards have reduced overall energy demand, which has offset the costs. A Senate hearing will be held on the bill Wednesday.

The Quadrennial Defense Review is at Defense.gov.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH