May 29 2013

Ocean Renewable Energy: a National Security Perspective

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Transitioning to clean renewable energy must be done in a matter that does not jeopardize American national security interests. Although this transition must be viewed as a step toward a more secure nation in its self, there are serious risks that must be evaluated and dealt with before offshore renewable energy can become a serious part of the American energy portfolio.


The prospect of securing a coal plant or a nuclear plant is much simpler for two key reasons. Primarily, these facilities are much smaller in comparison to the vast amount of area required for a facility like an offshore wind farm. By supplying simple aerial coverage of a small area like that of a nuclear plant we can provide that area with a much tighter grip on security. In essence it is much less difficult to keep dangerous elements out of a nuclear facility than it would be to keep dangerous elements out of an offshore wind farm. This gap in security must be addressed before any project that provides energy to any large American population center is constructed.


We must also consider national security in terms of unintentional threats that could lead to dangerous national security flaws. Prior tests and training using European offshore wind farms can be used to conduct similar operations to prepare for any catastrophic event associated with these ocean based energy generating locations. It is important to remember that security risks can also be accidental.


The video below highlights the risks associated by both accidental and intentional disruptions of ocean renewable energy generating systems:





I chose to examine the security of submerged DC cables in a prior experiment and found that there are major hurdles to be overcome before these cables can be constructed in a responsible and safe manner. The potential for attack on one portion of submerged cable could cause a large-scale blackout to an entire urban area. This type of blackout would in turn jeopardize the defense capabilities of our national security apparatus on land.


We must make the transition to clean renewable energy in order to become fully independent of OPEC nations and the influence that they exert on our global society. This transition will create a more secure homeland but cannot be made without first considering the unknown security threats associated with offshore energy generation.

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