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Navy Cancels Plan For Hybrid Engines On Destroyers

The guided-missile destroyer USS Truxtun scheduled to be upgraded to hybrid d...

Credit: Defense of Department

Above: The guided-missile destroyer USS Truxtun scheduled to be upgraded to hybrid drive, February 15, 2014.

The Navy is scuttling a plan left over from the Obama Administration to upgrade ships to run on electric power. It was one of several ideas discussed when the Great Green Fleet launched from San Diego in 2016.

Greater reliance on biofuels and solar panels were part of the discussion when then-Navy Secretary Ray Mabus in January 2016 touted the Navy’s ambitious energy saving goals from the aircraft carrier John C. Stennis in San Diego during the launching the Great Green Fleet.

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“We’re doing it in a lot of ways,” said Mabus, answering questions from reporters on the carrier deck in 2016. “One is we’re changing the types of engines we have on ships. We’re going to hybrid drives on a lot of our ships. Second, we’re doing things like changing the light bulbs. We have hull coating; we have stern flaps.”

After the Trump Administration took over, there were questions over whether any of these programs would survive. Defense News reports the Navy is canceling plans to upgrade the destroyers in upcoming budgets. The plan was to retrofit 34 destroyers to run partly on electric power as a way to extend their range and lower fuel consumption, including destroyers ported in San Diego. The plan uses the ship's generators to power the ship's propellers.

The first destroyer retrofitted, the USS Truxtun, will be used as a test ship, once its upgrade is finished next year, a Navy spokesperson said. The entire program was originally expected to cost $356 million. The Navy’s efforts to make itself greener did have its critics. Plans to use bio-fuel were criticized as not being cost effective.

The Great Green Fleet, launched in San Diego in 2016, touted many of the Navy's efforts to lessen reliance on fossil fuel. Those programs are now under scrutiny in the Trump Administration.

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