Thursday, July 19, 2012
The Navy hopes to cut its power use and foreign oil consumption in half by 2020.
At an event at the Capitol in Sacramento, the Navy and about a dozen California businesses and universities showed how much progress they're making. There were booths with algae oil used to make jet fuel and the latest in products that conserve energy.
Karen Butterfield with SunPower said a solar project nearing completion at China Basin will provide thirty percent of the base's power.
"It employs SunPower's high-efficiency panels as well as a single-axis tracking system that follows the sun from east to west during the day to maximize the amount of energy produced," explained Butterfield.
Several independent groups were on hand to applaud the efforts. Lawson Stuart with the Truman National Security Project said one-in-six soldiers is killed by enemy attacks on U.S. fuel convoys.
"Switching to biofuels, renewables, they have this awesome little backpack solar panel that can recharge all the batteries - we're literally saving veterans lives," said Stuart.
The problem most often cited for reluctance to use alternative energy is cost. People taking part in the "Green Navy" event said making renewable affordable is still the "holygrail" of alternative energy. The Truman Project said there has been progress. Biofuel costs have dropped by eighty percent in the last few years.
The California Energy Commission is funding several projects. It recently gave a biodiesel company nearly two billion dollars to build a ten-million-gallon-per-year production facility at the Ventura County Naval Base.