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United States Government Accountability Office: 
Washington, DC 20548: 

April 26, 2010: 

Congressional Committees: 

Subject: Defense Infrastructure: Department of Defense Renewable 
Energy Initiatives: 

This letter formally transmits the enclosed briefing in response to 
section 2846 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 
2010. The act required the Comptroller General to report on the 
Department of Defense's renewable energy initiatives, including 
projects involving the installation of solar panels. 

We are sending copies of this report to the appropriate congressional 
committees. We are also sending copies to the Secretary of Defense; 
the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force; and the Commandant 
of the Marine Corps. The report will also be available at no charge on 
the GAO Web site at [hyperlink,]. 

Should you or your staff have any questions concerning this report, 
please contact Brian J. Lepore at (202) 512-4523 or 
Contact points for our Offices of Congressional Relations and Public 
Affairs may be found on the last page of this report. 

Key contributors to this report include Harold Reich, Assistant 
Director; Stacy Bennett; Sharon Reid; Rebecca Rygg; Christopher 
Turner; and Michael Willems. 

Signed by: 

Brian J. Lepore, Director:
Defense Capabilities and Management: 


List of Committees: 

The Honorable Carl Levin:
The Honorable John McCain:
Ranking Member:
Committee on Armed Services:
United States Senate: 

The Honorable Tim Johnson:
The Honorable Kay Bailey Hutchison:
Ranking Member:
Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veteran's Affairs, and Related 
Committee on Appropriations:
United States Senate: 

The Honorable Ike Skelton:
The Honorable Howard McKeon:
Ranking Member:
Committee on Armed Services:
House of Representatives: 

The Honorable Chet Edwards:
The Honorable Zach Wamp:
Ranking Member:
Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veteran's Affairs, and Related 
Committee on Appropriations:
House of Representatives: 

[End of section] 

Enclosure I: Briefing Slides: 

Defense Infrastructure: Department of Defense's Renewable Energy

Briefing for the Committees on Armed Services, United States Senate and
House of Representatives: 

April 26, 2010: 

Table of Contents: 
* Background; 
* Engagement Objectives; 
* Objective 1: DOD's Renewable Energy Initiatives; 
* Objective 2: Costs of Renewable Energy Initiatives Reported by DOD; 
* Objective 3: Goals of DOD's Renewable Energy Initiatives; 
* Prior Recommendations; 
* Scope and Methodology; 
* Related GAO Products; 
* Appendix I: List of DOD Provided Renewable Energy Initiatives 
Including Costs; 
* Appendix II: List of DOD Provided Renewable Energy Initiatives 
Including Goals. 

[End of section] 


The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010[Footnote 
1] directed GAO to submit a report describing all of the Department of 
Defense's (DOD) renewable energy initiatives, including projects 
involving the installation of solar panels, that are currently 
producing energy or are under development on military 
installations.[Footnote 2] In addition, the report was to include (1) 
the costs
associated with each renewable energy initiative, (2) whether the 
renewable energy initiative has a clearly delineated set of goals or 
targets and whether the goals or targets are being met or are likely 
to be met by the completion of the initiative, and (3) recommendations 
for legislative or administrative actions. 

Background: DOD Goals for Renewable Energy Initiatives: 

Existing laws and an executive order direct federal agencies to 
increase their use of renewable sources of energy such as solar and 
wind power. 

* The Energy Policy Act of 2005 and its implementing guidance directs 
that, to the extent economically feasible and technically practicable, 
3 percent of the electrical energy consumed by federal agencies in 
fiscal years 2007 through 2009 come from renewable energy, with this 
percentage gradually increasing to 7.5 percent annually beginning in 
fiscal year 2013. 

* Executive Order 13423 directs that, in each fiscal year, an amount 
of renewable energy equal to at least half of the statutorily required 
renewable energy that is consumed by a federal agency must come from 
new renewable sources placed into service after January 1, 1999. 

* Section 2911(e) of Title 10 U.S.C. establishes a goal for DOD "to 
produce or procure" not less than 25 percent of its total facility 
energy consumption during fiscal year 2025, and each fiscal year 
thereafter, from renewable energy sources. 

[End of section] 

Engagement Objectives: 

1. What renewable energy initiatives, including projects involving the 
installation of solar panels, are currently producing energy or are 
under development on military installations? 

2. What are the costs associated with each of DOD's renewable energy 

3. What are the goals of each of DOD's renewable energy initiatives? 

Objective 1: DOD's Renewable Energy Initiatives: 

As of April 22, 2010, DOD reported to us that it has 454 renewable 
energy initiatives currently producing energy or under development. 

* These initiatives included a variety of noncarbon power sources such 
as solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass energy at military 

* These initiatives widely varied in size. For example, one smaller 
initiative involves solar-powered street lights that illuminate an 
installation road. Larger initiatives include a wind turbine and a 
waste-to-energy conversion project. 

Because DOD did not provide the energy initiative data in sufficient 
time to allow assessment of their accuracy and completeness before the 
mandate deadline, these data are of undetermined reliability. 

Table 1: Number of Initiatives by Type of Renewable Energy Initiatives: 

Type of renewable energy: Solar Photovoltaic; 
Number of initiatives: 252. 

Type of renewable energy: Solar Thermal; 
Number of initiatives: 59. 

Type of renewable energy: Geothermal Heat Pump; 
Number of initiatives: 56. 

Type of renewable energy: Wind; 
Number of initiatives: 25. 

Type of renewable energy: Daylighting; 
Number of initiatives: 14. 

Type of renewable energy: Waste-to-Energy; 
Number of initiatives: 7. 

Type of renewable energy: Geothermal; 
Number of initiatives: 4. 

Type of renewable energy: Other[A]; 
Number of initiatives: 6. 

Type of renewable energy: Not reported; 
Number of initiatives: 31. 

Type of renewable energy: Total; 
Number of initiatives: 454. 

Source: GAO analysis of DOD data. 

[A] DOD also reported one of each of the following six initiative 
types: Geothermal Electricity, Hydro-kinetic, Hydropower, Landfill 
Gas, Solar Pre-Heat, and Waste to Fuel. 

[End of table] 

DOD's list of renewable energy initiatives is enclosed as appendices I 
and II. The list includes: 

* projects located in the United States and overseas; 

* projects with a capacity equal to, or more than, 1,000 kilowatt 
hours (kWh) or 3.3 million British thermal units (MMbtu); and; 

* projects that do not produce energy, but rather offset energy 
consumption (such as geothermal heat pumps or daylighting). 

In addition, the projects identified included projects located on land 
adjacent to or near the military installation. 

Objective 2: Costs of Renewable Energy Initiatives Reported by DOD: 

Our review of DOD's renewable energy initiatives list found that there 
are a range of costs associated with each of the 454 projects listed. 

* 189 initiatives cost under $1,000,000. 

* 138 initiatives cost $1,000,000 or more. 

* 127 initiatives for which DOD provided no cost data. 

Our review of the renewable energy initiatives list found that DOD has 
funded renewable energy initiatives at its installations using both up-
front appropriated dollars and various types of agreements with 
private sector entities, which we refer to as alternative financing 

As we reported in December 2009,[Footnote 3] although the services use 
up-front appropriated funding to develop smaller renewable energy 
initiatives, DOD officials explained that up-front appropriated 
funding may be a poor fit for developing the larger, higher-cost 
renewable initiatives that a key official says are necessary to 
achieve the renewable energy goals. 

According to our analysis of the data on DOD's renewable energy 
initiatives list, of the top 25 energy producing initiatives, 36 
percent (9 of the 25) were funded through some sort of alternative 
financing approach. 

DOD does not maintain readily available comprehensive information on 
goals for all of its renewable energy initiatives, project by project. 
Our analysis of DOD information compiled at our request shows that 
while some initiatives have clearly specified goals, other initiatives 
do not, and in many cases it is unclear whether the initiatives are 
actually meeting their goals. 

While DOD does not regularly report on its goals on an initiative-by-
initiative basis, it annually reports its progress towards achieving 
its broader renewable energy goals to the Department of Energy for the 
Annual Energy Management Report. We reported in our December 2009 
report that these data may not always be accurate.[Footnote 4] 

Furthermore, DOD recently testified that it was "not even close to 
meeting the interim target" established for the goal to produce or 
procure not less than 25 percent of its total facility energy 
consumption from renewable energy sources by fiscal year 2025. 
[Footnote 5] 

[End of section] 

Prior Recommendations: 

Although we are not making any recommendations in this briefing, we 
made several recommendations for DOD to take to address challenges in 
meeting federal renewable energy goals in our December 2009 report. 
[Footnote 6] Specifically, to enhance DOD's ability to achieve the 
renewable energy goals consistent with the need to maximize cost-
effectiveness, follow existing federal guidance, and increase 
oversight of DOD's renewable energy activities, we recommended that 
the Secretary of Defense direct the Under Secretary of Defense 
(Acquisition, Technology and Logistics) in conjunction with the 
Secretaries of the military services to take the following five 

1. Develop and issue guidance specifying how to accurately report 
DOD's annual progress toward the 2007 Defense Authorization Act goal, 
as amended by the fiscal year 2010 Defense Authorization Act. Among 
other things, this guidance should clearly define how the services are 
to apply the terms "produce" and "consume" to their implementation of 
the goal and how the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) is to 
apply the terms to its reporting of DOD's progress toward the goal.
2. Develop and issue guidance to assist the services in determining 
how to balance the use of land for renewable initiatives with their 
installations' primary missions, thereby assisting installation 
commanders and potential investors in knowing which land on the 
installations may be available for renewable energy initiatives, 
consistent with the installations' mission capabilities. 

3. Facilitate the successful implementation of alternative financing 
approaches and help ensure that DOD can maximize its opportunities for 
completing cost-effective renewable energy initiatives by (1) 
determining the adequate number of energy managers, contracting 
officials, and other officials with the necessary expertise to 
administer these complex transactions and (2) determining and 
providing the appropriate level of training to these employees. 

4. Develop a long-term, DOD-wide plan to assist DOD in effectively and 
efficiently meeting the renewable energy goals over the long term. At 
a minimum, this plan should identify key challenges—such as the higher 
price of renewable energy compared with conventional energy and 
volatility in renewable energy certificate markets—that DOD faces in 
meeting the goals, and ways to mitigate those challenges. The plan 
should also coordinate the services' renewable energy activities, 
contain realistic performance measures for DOD and the services so 
that OSD can accurately assess annual progress, and align DOD's 
resources in pursuit of the renewable energy goals. 

5. Develop information systems or processes that will enable OSD to 
have visibility over DOD renewable energy initiatives, allow the 
services to monitor and coordinate the services' consumption of 
renewable energy, and guide DOD toward achievement of the renewable 
energy goals. 

DOD concurred with four of these recommendations and partially 
concurred with one (the third recommendation), agreeing with its 
intent but stating that it is a service responsibility to determine 
the specific quantity and skill set of the staff needed to implement 
alternative financing approaches. 

[End of section] 

Scope and Methodology: 

To achieve our objectives, we: 

* requested that DOD provide us with information describing its 
renewable energy initiatives, associated costs, and details of its 
goals and targets using a standardized data-collection tool; 

* reviewed DOD and service guidance and Department of Energy guidance 
applicable to DOD and the services; and; 

* interviewed the OSD level official responsible for summarizing the 
data and verifying their accuracy. 

We did not independently validate the completeness or reliability of 
DOD's information on renewable enemy initiatives because DOD did not 
provide the energy initiative data in sufficient time to allow 
assessment of their accuracy and completeness before the mandate 

The Office of the Secretary of Defense did not have any comments on a 
draft of this briefing. 

We performed our review from January 2010 through April 2010 in 
accordance with all sections of GAO's Quality Assurance Framework that 
are relevant to our objectives. The framework requires that we plan 
and perform the engagement to obtain sufficient and appropriate 
evidence to meet our stated objectives and to discuss any limitations 
in our work. We believe that the information and data obtained, and 
the analysis conducted, provide a reasonable basis for any findings 
and conclusions. 

[End of section] 

Related GAO Products: 

Defense Infrastructure: DOD Needs to Take Actions to Address 
Challenges in Meeting Federal Renewable Energy Goals. GAO-10104. 
Washington, D.C.: December 18, 2009. 

Defense Critical Infrastructure: Actions Needed to Improve the 
Consistency, Reliability, and Usefulness of DOD's Tier 1 Task Critical 
Asset List. GAO-09-740R. Washington, D.C.: July 17, 2009. 

Federal Energy Management: Addressing Challenges through Better Plans 
and Clarifying the Greenhouse Gas Emission Measure Will Help Meet Long-
term Goals for Buildings. GAO-08-977. Washington, D.C.: September 30, 

Defense Management: Overarching Organizational Framework Needed to 
Guide and Oversee Energy Reduction Efforts for Military Operations. 
GAO-08-426. Washington, D.C.: March 13, 2008. 

Advanced Energy Technologies: Budget Trends and Challenges for DOE's 
Energy R&D Program. GAO-08-556T. Washington, D.C.: March 5, 2008. 

Transmission Lines: Issues Associated with High-Voltage Direct-Current 
Transmission Lines along Transportation Rights of Way. GAO-08-347R. 
Washington, D.C.: February 1, 2008. 

Advanced Energy Technologies: Key Challenges to Their Development and 
Deployment. GAO-07-550T. Washington, D.C.: February 28, 2007. 

Department of Energy: Key Challenges Remain for Developing and 
Deploying Advanced Energy Technologies to Meet Future Needs. GAO-07-
106. Washington, D.C.: December 20, 2006. 

Renewable Energy: Increased Geothermal Development Will Depend on 
Overcoming Many Challenges. GAO-06-629. Washington, D.C.: May 24, 2006. 

Energy Savings: Performance Contracts Offer Benefits, but Vigilance Is 
Needed to Protect Government Interests. GAO-05-340. Washington, D.C.: 
June 22, 2005. 

National Energy Policy: Inventory of Major Federal Energy Programs and 
Status of Policy Recommendations. GAO-05-379. Washington, D.C.: June 
10, 2005. 

Meeting Energy Demand in the 21st Century: Many Challenges and Key 
Questions. GAO-05-414T. Washington, D.C.: March 16, 2005. 
Capital Financing: Partnerships and Energy Savings Performance 
Contracts Raise Budgeting and Monitoring Concerns. GAO-05-55. 
Washington, D.C.: December 16, 2004. 

Geothermal Energy: Information on the Navy's Geothermal Program. GAO-
04-513. Washington, D.C.: June 4, 2004. 

[End of section] 

Appendix I: List of DOD Provided Renewable Energy Initiatives 
Including Costs: 

[Available upon request] 

Appendix II: List of DOD Provided Renewable Energy Initiatives 
Including Goals: 

[Available upon request] 

[End of section] 


[1] Pub. L. No. 111-84, § 2846 (Oct. 28, 2009). 

[2] The report is required 180 days after the enactment of the Act (by 
Apr. 26, 2010). 

[3] GAO, Defense Infrastructure: DOD Needs to Take Actions to Address 
Challenges in Meeting Federal Renewable Energy Goals, [hyperlink,] (Washington, D.C.: Dec. 18, 

[4] [hyperlink,]. 

[5] Dr. Dorothy Robyn, Statement of Deputy Under Secretary of Defense 
for Installations and Environment before the Subcommittee on 
Readiness, House Armed Services Committee (Feb. 24, 2010). 

[6] [hyperlink,]. 

[End of section] 

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