The Vital Role of Clean Energy in National Security — Lisa Salley

Point of View
3 min readOct 18, 2023
Image by jannoon028 on Freepik

National security considerations have transcended traditional military strength and geopolitical alliances. Today, they encompass a wider spectrum of environmental and economic factors. Clean energy, often touted as a solution to climate change, is taking center stage. More and more, governments and security experts across the world acknowledge the necessity to embrace clean energy as a cornerstone of security strategies.

One of the most significant risks arises from reliance on fossil fuel suppliers who may manipulate their resources for geopolitical leverage. The Russian invasion of Ukraine serves as a vivid example of how fossil fuel supply can be weaponized. Transitioning to local, clean energy sources minimizes vulnerabilities, making nations less susceptible to such coercive tactics.

Changing weather patterns also poses concern. The increasing frequency and severity of climate-driven hazards, such as floods and heatwaves, strain government and military responses worldwide. These events jeopardize food security, water availability, and habitability in various regions, posing another threat to global stability.

In terms of defense, the military have long recognized the implications of climate change on security. They’ve also come to appreciate the benefits of clean energy technologies for military capabilities. For instance, solar panels on military installations enhance resilience during grid outages, while solar generation in the field reduces reliance on vulnerable diesel generators.

The transition to electric vehicles, renewable energy, advanced nuclear energy, and large-scale storage is not only a response to climate change. These technologies are also driving the future of the world’s economy. A robust economy is an essential element in national security and global stability; clean energy offers abundant opportunities in the coming decades.

Recognizing this, international competitors like China have made substantial investments in clean energy industries. The U.S. cannot afford to lag behind. Laws such as the Inflation Reduction Act prioritize investments in clean energy, positioning the country as a stronger competitor on the global stage. Moreover, as the U.S. advocates for clean energy, both domestically and as part of foreign policy, it conveys a message of responsibility, sustainability, and a commitment to global security. In doing so, the U.S. sets a powerful example for other nations.

Beyond the economic concerns, the imperative for embracing clean energy as a cornerstone of national security is evident. It reduces vulnerability to petro dictators, mitigates the impact of climate-driven hazards, fosters credibility and influence, enhances military capabilities, and drives economic growth. It’s a comprehensive solution to a multifaceted challenge.

The call to action is straightforward: invest in clean energy development, both at home and abroad. Support technologies that make our nations more resilient. Encourage policies and partnerships that prioritize clean energy, not just for the sake of the environment but for the security and prosperity of our nations.

Clean energy is not optional; it’s an imperative. In its embrace, we fortify our national security, elevate our global influence, and secure a more prosperous future for generations to come. It’s not just about mitigating the climate crisis; it’s about ensuring a safer and brighter world.

With over 25 years in corporate America, Lisa Salley has a strong track record of driving transformation and change on a global level. Passionate about strategic growth, innovation, and emerging technology, she has specialized in the energy and environmental markets. Her extensive experience ranges from start-ups to Fortune 50 companies and she has received repeated recognition for her leadership and execution abilities. Through a holistic approach that emphasizes community engagement and fosters a robust STEM talent pipeline, her mission is to enable a sustainable future, where an emphasis on clean energy takes center stage.

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