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Navy’s ‘Green Fleet’ Fuel Costs $27 A Gallon

From a bemused Reuters:

Insight: "Green Fleet" sails, meets stiff headwinds in Congress

By David Alexander | July 2, 2012

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. Navy oiler slipped away from a fuel depot on the Puget Sound in Washington state one recent day, headed toward the central Pacific and into the storm over the Pentagon’s controversial green fuels initiative.

In its tanks, the USNS Henry J. Kaiser carried nearly 900,000 gallons of biofuel blended with petroleum to power the cruisers, destroyers and fighter jets of what the Navy has taken to calling the "Great Green Fleet," the first carrier strike group to be powered largely by alternative fuels.

Conventionally powered ships and aircraft in the strike group will burn the blend in an operational setting for the first time this month during the 22-nation Rim of the Pacific exercise, the largest annual international maritime warfare maneuvers. The six-week exercise began on Friday.

The Pentagon hopes it can prove the Navy looks as impressive burning fuel squeezed from seeds, algae and chicken fat as it does using petroleum.

But the demonstration, years in the making, may be a Pyrrhic victory.

Some Republican lawmakers have seized on the fuel’s $26-a-gallon price, compared to $3.60 for conventional fuel. They paint the program as a waste of precious funds at a time when the U.S. government’s budget remains severely strained, the Pentagon is facing cuts and energy companies are finding big quantities of oil and gas in the United States.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, the program’s biggest public booster, calls it vital for the military’s energy security.

But to President Barack Obama’s critics, it is an opportunity to accuse the U.S. leader of pushing green energy policies even if they don’t make economic sense. The bankruptcy of government-funded solar panel maker Solyndra last year was a previous example of that, they say.

How can any sane person say otherwise?

Senator John McCain, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, expressed outrage over the costs of the fuel at a hearing earlier this year.

"I don’t believe it’s the job of the Navy to be involved in building … new technologies," he said. "I don’t believe we can afford it."

But the U.S. Defense, Energy and Agriculture departments are moving ahead with their plans, jointly sponsoring a half-a-billion-dollar initiative to foster a competitive biofuels industry…

Which is so competitive now, it barely exists.

But the initial small-batch cost of some biofuels has raised eyebrows on Capitol Hill, even among lawmakers used to dealing with billion-dollar defense cost overruns.

The Pentagon paid Solazyme Inc $8.5 million in 2009 for 20,055 gallons of biofuel based on algae oil, or $424 a gallon.

Was that Stimulus money?

Solazyme’s strategic advisers, according to its website, include T.J. Glauthier, who served on Obama’s White House Transition team and dealt with energy issues, but also former CIA director R. James Woolsey, a conservative national security official.

Cherchez le Obama crony.

For the Great Green Fleet demonstration, the Pentagon paid $12 million for 450,000 gallons of biofuel, nearly $27 a gallon. There were eight bidders for that contract, it said.

Republican lawmakers are pushing measures that would bar the Navy from spending funds on alternative fuels that are not priced competitively with petroleum and are accusing Mabus of failing to provide Congress with a full analysis of the cost and time it would take to create.

How partisan of them.

Mabus remains undeterred in his pursuit of alternative fuel.

The Navy has been at the forefront of energy innovation for over a hundred years, Mabus says, transitioning from sail, to coal, to oil and then to nuclear from the 1850s to the 1950s.

"Every single time there were naysayers," he said recently. "And every single time, every single time, those naysayers have been wrong, and they’re going to be wrong again this time."

Yes, algae certainly makes more sense than something like oil shale or old-fashioned nuclear. The critics are so backward.

In any case, for most of the un-excerpted article Reuters defends this program. In fact, they spend most of the piece quoting Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, who is the biggest proponent of using biofuels, apart from Obama.

But, naturally, the Left would like the military to squander as much of its budget as possible on things like biofuels, instead of what it should be using it for. And that is, defending the country.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012. Comments are currently closed.

15 Responses to “Navy’s ‘Green Fleet’ Fuel Costs $27 A Gallon”

  1. Astravogel

    If this doesn’t work out, we could borrow back the USS TEXAS and
    the USS OREGON. They run on coal. I don’t think the EPA would
    mind if the emissions were somewhere out at sea. Or maybe they
    would.

  2. Petronius

    Ah, how I yearn for the days of the $434 hammer and the $600 toilet seat. And does anybody still remember the $400 designer leather briefcases?

    They used to call that fraud, waste, and abuse. But that was before the Armed Services Procurement Act and the Federal Acquisition Regulations were amended to make sure nothing like that could ever happened again. And so Congress required the Pentagon to buy commercial items at market prices using full and open competition.

    But then came the Age of Obama.

    Now that the messiah has arrived, we no longer call it waste, fraud, and abuse. We call it “vital for the military’s energy security” or “investing in the future” or “building new technologies.” And those old fuddy-duddy procurement statutes and regulations don’t apply anymore.

    Yes, so pour on that algae oil, lads, damn the torpedoes, and full speed ahead.

  3. From sail to coal to petrolium to nuclear to biofuel to solar to unicorn farts and fairy dust. Nice bell curve. Go… you global force for good… and lefty propaganda.

    What’s next on the government’s fantasy fuel sweepstakes? The power of Grayskull? The power of the one ring? The power of the sword? Maybe Green Lantern’s ring and the power of will? Huey Lewis’ “Power of Love”. The power of the Force… or the Schwartz? The power of the Dark Side? The power of positive thinking? The power of suggestion? Who will win the next government handout for “flight of fancy of the month”? Probably several billion dollars hanging in the balance. Let’s root for the power of prayer. ‘Cause we’re all prayin’ the Obama nightmare ends in November. Forever and ever amen.

  4. From sail, to coal, to oil, to nuclear, to biofuels, to solar, to fairy dust, to unicorn farts. Nice bell curve.

    What will be the next fantasy power source for the tree huggers. Huey Lewis’ “Power of Love”? The power of the one ring? The power of the sword? The power of the pen? By the power of Grayskull? How about Green Lantern’s power of will? The power of the dark side? The power of the force… or the Schwartz? The power of positive thinking? The power of suggestion?

    With billions on the line, who will win the next “flight of fancy of the month”? I vote for the power of prayer… ’cause we’re all praying that this nightmare will end in November.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      ut,

      I know it’s a deadly serious subject and it depresses me like all the rest of this regime’s BS but…

      …..this is the funniest post—ever.

    • Right of the People

      We already are under the power of the dark side, have been since January 20, 2009. Hopefully the curse will be lifted on January 20, 2012.

    • canary

      But, the green monster will continue for the next 4 years either way you toss the coin.

      A plague of bugs will come, and there will be no chemical to destroy it.

  5. jackrv

    From Astravogel

    If this doesn’t work out, we could borrow back the USS TEXAS and
    the USS OREGON. They run on coal. I don’t think the EPA would
    mind if the emissions were somewhere out at sea. Or maybe they
    would.

    That would work for the Texas but the only thing left from the Oregon are a mast and the funnels.

    Jack

  6. BigOil

    Looting of the federal treasury continues unabated. You have to give kudos to this bunch of criminals. They are throwing it right in our faces every day knowing full well nobody will stop them.

  7. beautyofreason

    Wow. 7 times higher. The euphemisms are so 1984. How does suppressing domestic supplies and increasing the cost of fuel by seven fold create “energy security?” Waiting for the DNC to be renamed “ministry of love.”

  8. canary

    Crack me up!!! Our ships and planes are headed to Iran as we speak and they are trying to save the water
    which will end up being nuked. I do pray there isn’t some even worse enviromental when green fuel hits nuclear materials. It could end the world.

    In a moment of somber please pray for our U.S. Military and the U.S.A.

    As we celebrate the birthday of our independance 4th of July. Holidays just always make me edgy with the muslim terrorists in this country.

  9. captainfish

    So, why aren’t we using the fuel that is plentiful and powerful. It is present and seemingly all around. Its safe and non-explosive.

    NUCLEAR!

    Why aren’t these ships converted to using nuclear, that will save millions of dollars?

    When we start needing rail-gun technology, we are going to need all of those extra electrons.

    But then, reason, logic, economics and self-defense were never part of the liberal psyche.

  10. One of the components of these biofuels are remnants of swine – pigs. It is not about biofuels; but is about messing with the collective minds of our friends from the Religion of Endless Outrage. Every time they look up and see a jet, they don’t know if they are inhaling unclean exhaust fumes from burned swine.

    The program started under Rumsfeld in the mid-2000s as a psychological warfare ploy – a way to mess with the Muzzies’ minds. The AF is also dabbling in it. Expensive? Sure. Messing with the minds of our enemies in the Middle East? Priceless. Cheers -

    • AcornsRNutz

      That may be, but soaking our munitions in pigs blood would work better and be much much cheaper. I’d rather put bullets than fear into my enemies’ minds, and for the cost saved using the old gas, I’d have a lot more bullets.

  11. AcornsRNutz

    When the US Navy’s slogan became “A Global Force for Good”, I knew we were screwed. For the time being I am in the Men’s department of the Navy, but I wonder how much longer this can stand before the socail experimentation completely guts our combat effectiveness. Trust me, it’s nota pretty picture in the big green machine right now.


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