NCES Speaker Snapshots: Energy Security
The National Clean Energy Summit is known for influential speakers addressing critically important subjects. When you listen to a keynote speaker or watch a panel at the Summit, you know you're getting a preview of the clean energy issues that will be playing out across the country over the coming years.
We recently asked former CEP executive director Lydia Ball to pick out a few of her favorite quotes from previous Summits.
Ball who is currently a fellow of the Truman National Security Project, a national security leadership institute, has a long-standing interest in the relationship between clean energy and national security. She highlighted three NCES speakers whose remarks on national security still resonate for her today.
Frederick W. Smith, President and CEO of FedEx, addressed the enormous national security and economic risks of importing billions of barrels of oil from unfriendly countries. "[D]ependence on foreign petroleum, after weapons of mass destruction and terrorism is our single greatest national risk," he said. Smith, who is also on the Board of the Energy Security Leadership Council, called for increased fuel efficiency standards, the electrification of short-haul transportation and investment in American bio-fuels. (2012)
Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley emphasized that oil also affects national security because of the enormous cost it represents for the United States military. “The Department of Defense is the single largest consumer of energy in the Nation, accounting for approximately one percent of U.S. national demand,” he said. “Within DoD, the Air Force consumes the largest share of energy, due to the large amount of fuel required to keep our aircraft flying.” Among other energy-saving strategies, Secretary Donley pointed to the increasing use of renewable energy on Air Force bases like Nevada's own Nellis Air Force Base, where a 140-acre solar array generates 14 megawatts of power. (2012) A second solar array is currently under construction on the base.
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus spoke about both national security and the very high cost of transporting traditional energy sources to combat zones. “We would never let the countries that we buy energy from build our ships or our aircraft or our ground vehicles, but we give them a say on whether those ships sail, whether those aircraft fly, whether those ground vehicles operate because we buy their energy,” he said. He also pointed out that energy costs are not just financial. Speaking of the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan at the time, he said, “For every 50 convoys of gasoline we bring in, we lose a Marine. We lose a Marine, killed or wounded. That is too high a price to pay for fuel.” (2011)
For information about this year's National Clean Energy Summit, or to see highlights from previous Summits, visit www.cleanenergysummit.org.