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A Look at the DOD’s Energy Usage in 2010

The DoD spent $15.2 billion on energy in (Fiscal Year) 2010. Seventy four percent of this (or $11.2 billion) can be attributed to operations while the remaining 24% (or $3.7 billion) to the Department’s permanent installations and 2% (or $0.3 billion) to non-tactical vehicles.

US Military Energy Costs

When we look at the total energy consumption we have a similar picture. In 2010, DoD consumed 872 trillion Btu of site delivered, purchased energy. Seventy three percent of this was operational energy and the rest was facilities energy.

Note that 872 trillion Btu corresponds to site delivered energy. In energy balance terminology it refers to final energy consumption. So, if you want to compare this amount with a country’s energy consumption you better use the estimated source energy, which by the way more or less corresponds to primary energy supply, and which by way is not given in the DoD’s annual energy management report.

U.S. Military energy consumption

According to my calculations the DoD’s primary energy consumption is slightly above 1100 trillion Btu. This is roughly the amount of energy consumed in Nigeria, a country with a population of 150 million.

Two types of energy are dominant in DoD’s energy mix - oil, with a share of 77%, and electricity, with a share of 12%.

In 2010, DoD spent almost $12 billion for the 374,000 barrels of oil it consumed on average each day.  In comparison, Nigeria consumed almost 280,000 barrels per day and Greece 371,000 barrels per day in 2010.

In 2010, DoD consumed 30 billion kWh of electricity. This is equivalent to the electricity consumption Algeria, a country with a population of 35 million. Nigeria consumed almost 20 billion kWh.

This should be not surprising because:

(1) The DOD’s worldwide infrastructure includes over 539,000 facilities (300,638 buildings and the rest structures) located at more than 5,000 sites around the world, on more than 113,000 km2 (bigger than the land area of Louisiana).

(2) The DOD operates approximately 15,800 aircraft, over 300 non-nuclear ships, some 195,000 non-tactical fleet vehicles, over 300,000 tactical ground vehicles (wheeled and tracked), in addition to over 120,000 generators. And all these machines consume oil, lots of it.

No wonder, the DoD is the largest single end use energy consumer in the world. 

And yet, the DoD’s energy consumption is underestimated at least due to two reasons:

• First, DoD’s annual energy management reporting system considers only purchased energy. Therefore, if DoD doesn’t pay anything (in kind fuel and power) then it is not counted.

• Second, the DoD does not take into account of nuclear energy in its energy accounting. So, nuclear energy consumed in 11 nuclear aircraft carriers and over 70 nuclear submarines are unaccounted for.

This is my message for William Lynn (Deputy Secretary of Defense) and Sharon Burke (Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy Plans and Programs).

Without having a comprehensive data there is no way to do any meaningful energy analysis. Mrs Burke rightly mentioned on several occasions that the DOD lacks sufficient data on and analysis of operational energy use to manage consumption effectively. The DOD needs better statistics on how much energy is being consumed, where, and for what purposes.

By. Sohbet karbuz

You can see more of Sohbet’s work at his blog below.

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  • Anonymous on October 11 2011 said:
    Not quite a valid comparison- Nigeria. It's a sub-tropical climate, they don't use a whole lot of energy there to heat, their people are destitute-poor, so energy consumption is absurdly low per-capita, and they're hardly even a third world country. Maybe you should have picked an industrial country in the first world with a temperate climate?Seems like your data is cherry-picked to show a disparity that doesn't exist, which may show an astute reader that your bias may invalidate some of your other propositions.

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