CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (NNS) -- Officials at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune were preparing July 15 for the scheduled July 18 delivery of the inaugural shipment of biodiesel fuel that's grown, processed and blended exclusively in North Carolina for the military.
Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Carl B. Jensen, commanding general of Marine Corps Installations East, and N.C. Sen. Harry Brown will be on hand to mark what officials are calling a watershed event in the military's ongoing effort to increase its use of domestically produced renewable fuels.
The delivery culminates years of collaboration facilitated by North Carolina Eastern Region's Military Growth Task Force through an initiative known as Fuel the Force, Camp Lejeune officials said.
"The project is a partnership between North Carolina's two leading industries -- the military and agriculture -- and promotes development of the processes and infrastructure necessary for North Carolina's farmers to provide the renewable fuels required by North Carolina's warriors," officials added in a statement announcing the delivery.
The military must meet aggressive federal mandates to reduce its energy consumption 30 percent by 2015, while increasing its use of renewable energy. Jensen detailed his energy needs at the task force's regional biofuels symposium last year.
"I believe strongly that we have got to break our dependence on petrochemicals," he said. "It has got to start somewhere, ... and it might as well start with the military."
Since then, a team of farmers, entrepreneurs, economic developers, elected officials, environmental groups, educators and interested citizens worked together to make the vision a reality.
The establishment of regional production capacity will reduce, and eventually eliminate, the need to import fuels from distant locations, officials said. Through Fuel the Force, North Carolina's warriors and farmers have sown the seeds of a North Carolina biofuels industry that is environmentally, logistically and fiscally sustainable, the announcement said.
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus laid out five aggressive energy goals in October 2009 to improve our energy security and efficiency, increase our energy independence, and help lead the nation toward a clean energy economy. This initiative assists in achieving the energy goal of increasing alternative energy afloat and ashore where by 2020, the Department of the Navy (DON) will produce at least 50 percent of shore-based energy requirements from alternative sources and 50 percent of DON installations will be net-zero.
(From a Marine Corps Base Camp Lejuene press release)
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