The United States Navy plans to get 100% of its electrical power needs from carbon-free sources by 2030, with at least 50% coming from local power generation and on-base generation.
The service, in its updated climate strategy, asks for more investment in distributed generation and cybersecure microgrids, as well as green electricity purchases from utility-scale providers. Microgrid technology can isolate the crucial shoreside power needs of the service from grid instability or outage. The goal is to seize control and allow mission completion during grid instability.
The idea is part of the service’s attempts to transition away from fossil fuel. Green power, when combined with a goal to run 100% of the Navy’s light vehicles on electricity by 2027 and all vehicles by 2035, will make the service immune to volatility in petroleum fuel price.
Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Georgia, was an early adopter of on-base power and the first in the service to produce more energy than it consumes. It is powered by landfill gas, excess steam from a local industrial plant, solar electricity, and geothermal energy, with backup provided by mobile solar-powered charging stations.
The Navy is also planning to transition tactical vehicles to hybrid and/or electric powertrains, decreasing the logistics needs for transferring gasoline to combat forces. The emphasis will remain on warfighting efficacy, including fuel demand reduction, and improving resilience and survivability, the service added.
The Navy’s surface combatants, auxiliaries, and aircraft will rely on petroleum in the foreseeable future. These platforms are widely recognized as being the most difficult to decarbonize due to the missions they must perform, the amount of energy they require, and the long service life of these capital assets. As a result, rather than switching its fleet’s energy source, the Navy will pursue incremental strategies to reduce energy demand and improve efficiency.