Pursuing Cleantech is Now Pentagon Policy

Green Chip's Weekend Edition

Written by Brian Hicks
Posted May 16, 2010

Welcome to the Green Chip Review Weekend Edition — our insights from the week in everything alternative and cleantech, as well as links to our most-read Green Chip Review and sister publication articles. 

The United States military has always pioneered major advancements.

In the Revolutionary War, it changed forever the way wars would be fought, using guerrilla warfare to stun the British.

In the Civil War, the North used a growing network of rail and telegraph lines to logistically pummel the South.

In the 70s, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency — you know it as DARPA — pioneered what would eventually become the Internet as they addressed the problem of digital communications during wartime.

And I shouldn't have to tell you how profitable these industries have become, both for their pioneers and for early investors.

The railroad and telegraph created, at the time, some of the greatest wealth the world had ever seen. In fact, it wasn't until the late 1800s — when railroads and the telegraph transformed the U.S. economy — that the term millionaire was widely adopted.


And I think you know without me telling you about the kind of wealth the Internet ushered in...

Today, clean energy is in the same unique position as the railroad was in the 1860s; as the Internet during the 1970s.

A New Railroad is Being Built Across America

But it's not a network of steel rails and wood ties...

It's a network of new electricity distribution; a network of solar panels and wind turbines; a network of new nuclear plants and home efficiency technologies.

And you know how I know this?

Because the military is at the forefront.

According to a new report by the Pew Charitable Trusts, "the U.S. military — the government's largest fuel buyer — is leading the fight against climate change by investing in the 'Great Green Fleet' and other ways of cutting dependence on oil and coal."

It continued: "They're not having long and protracted debates about whether or not we can afford it ... they are marching into investments in everything from electric vehicles to forming strike groups that run on alternative fuels."

Why are they doing this?

Well, the Pentagon has found and formally declared that not pursuing efficiency and alternative fuels will lead to domestic and international instability.

Consider this: For every $10 increase in the price of oil, the Department of Defense's annual fuel costs increase $1.3 billion. In 2008, it spent $20 billion on fossil fuel energy.

Of course, average Americans feel the same pain — rising fuel costs, higher utility bills — but they have the media and politicians to dictate how they view those problems and solutions.

Remember when "drill baby drill" was the preferred energy policy of part of the population?

The military, on the other hand, does what is best for the bottom line — both monetarily and strategically. It knows clean energy is the answer. And, unlike the rest of the country, it's wasting no time pursuing it.

And just as the case was with the railroad and Internet... class-changing profits won't be far behind when it comes to clean energy.

Supporting Our Troops

I find it amusing that people with "support our troops" bumper stickers generally (note: I said generally) fall into the "drill baby drill" crowd.

But the military doesn't want to drill. Protecting diesel supply lines has become the most perilous mission in Iraq and Afghanistan.

You know how the Pentagon is supporting our troops?

By using as little oil as possible.

The Army is building a fleet of 4,000 electric vehicles that will cut its demand for oil by 11 million gallons annually...

The Navy will complete its Great Green Fleet by 2016 — a new strike group of nuclear ships, ground units powered by hybrid-electric systems, and aircraft powered by biofuel.

The Air Force is now the largest purchaser of clean energy in the Federal government, with 37 bases getting a portion of their power from renewables.

This is your railroad. This is your Internet.

Just as railroad owners went on to own land the size of Texas...

Just as the original telegraph and telephone company — now AT&T — became the country's Ma Bell...

So to will clean energy go on to transform the nation, to ensure its prosperity, and to usher in wealth to all those willing to embrace the future and the technologies driving it.

In case you missed it, we unveiled one such opportunity this week. In this era of new solutions, this firm could become America's next great energy company.

You can find the rest of this week's profit ideas below.

Call it like you see it,


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