A new study released by the Defense Department’s Office of Installations and Environment found that the Pentagon could produce 7,000 megawatts of solar energy at four military bases in the California desert, including Edwards Air Force Base. That’s the equivalent output of seven nuclear power plants and could go a long way in helping the US military become less reliant on the commercial grid, according to a DOD release. ICF International of Fairfax, Va., conducted the year-long study, which looked at seven California military bases and two in Nevada: Creech Air Force Base and Nellis Air Force Base. The researchers found that most of the surface area at these nine locations was incompatible with solar development, but established that roughly 25,000 acres were suitable and another 100,000 acres were potentially suitable. The majority of the viable land is at Edwards. ICF found little or no economically viable acreage at three California bases and at Creech and Nellis. (Solar study executive summary; caution, large-sized file.)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.