Green + Government = Taxpayer Disaster.
The Defense Department spent more than $117 million of stimulus funds on hastily planned renewable energy projects that promised lackluster returns on investments and now face major delays — if they’re built at all, according to a Greenwire review of DOD inspector general audits and other documents on the projects.
The projects spotlighted by Greenwire include:
- A $14.1 million Air Force plan to build three wind turbines at radar stations in Alaska. “The service bulled ahead without fully assessing the potential for wind at the turbine sites, the IG found.”
- The Navy/Marine Corps launched three photovoltaic projects with a total $75.1 million price tag at 12 sites in California and Hawaii without considering costs and paybacks.
- The Air Force paid $18.3 million upfront to a local electric utility for a solar array at the Air Force Academy leaving the service with no leverage when the project fell months behind schedule, losing out on possibly as much as $676,000 in interest.
- The Navy awarded contracts to start a $9 million geothermal project in Nevada before doing research to confirm the drilling sites were likely to have geothermal resources. An IG review of technical papers found that only two of the six sites had a high potential for such resources.
- The Navy awarded $1 million for a solar and lighting project at Naval Station Norfolk, Va., that it now calculates would take more than 447 years to pay for itself, the IG found. The Navy has declined to cancel the project, despite the poor payback.