Quite a battle continues between the Navy and the House GOP over the use of renewable fuels. The Navy wants them; the legislators say not if costs more than oil. The Navy is looking ahead to when a good supply of oil won’t be available; the GOP is looking at…today and tomorrow, I guess. Here are some excerpts from a Wire report:
“I understand that alternative fuels may help our guys in the field, but wouldn’t you agree that the thing they’d be more concerned about is having more ships, more planes, more prepositioned stocks,” Rep. Randy Forbes said during a February hearing with Mabus. “Shouldn’t we refocus our priorities and make those things our priorities instead of advancing a biofuels market?” Then he told Mabus: “You’re not the secretary of the energy. You’re the secretary of the Navy.”
Mabus and his allies countered that the Republicans were taking an overly-simplistic view of things. Of course relatively small batches of a new fuel are going to be expensive — just like the original, 5GB iPod cost $400 and held fewer songs than today’s $129 model, which holds 8 GB. That’s the nature of research and development. With development time and big enough purchases, the costs of biofuels will come down, they argued; already, the price has dropped in half since 2009.
“It’s a false choice to say that we should concentrate on more ships versus a different kind of fuel. If we don’t get a different kind of fuel, if we don’t have a secure domestic supply of energy at an affordable price… the ships and the planes may not be able to be used because we can’t get the fuel,” Mabus told the Senate Subcommittee on Water and Power in March.