The US Military at the Nexus of National Security & Clean Energy with Dave Belote

Episode 39

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Hosted by
Ron Kamen

Ron Kamen has decades of expertise & leadership in catalyzing exponential change in sustainable energy adoption with governments, non-profits, and businesses.

Quantum Quote: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” – Dave Belote

Clean energy isn’t just good for our environment; it’s good for our economy – and it’s essential to our national security.

Climate change and dependence on fossil fuels are creating additional instability around the world – and threatening US military bases everywhere.

If you want to know how supporting renewable energy also secures national defense, this episode is for you.

Dave Belote is a retired Air Force colonel and, since 2017, the managing partner of DARE Strategies LLC, an energy and defense consulting firm that advises renewable energy developers on Federal and state-level siting policy and legislative strategy. 

He has served as an installation commander, Pentagon senior executive, and energy developer, and was the founding executive director of the Department of Defense Siting Clearinghouse.  

Dave has earned two Bronze Stars, two Legion of Merit awards, and White House recognition as a Champion of Change:  Veteran Advancing Clean Energy and Climate Security.  He is also a five-time Jeopardy! champion.

In this episode, Dave shares his efforts to deliver clean, renewable power to federal customers and promote renewable energy solutions on military bases, public lands, and the outer continental shelf. Through DARE Strategies LLC, he continues to work at the intersection of his twin passions: Defense and Renewable Energy. 

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SuperNova #1. “My unique little niche is help utility scale wind and solar developers deal with the Pentagon and figure out how close you can put wind turbines to a radar, how many wind turbines you can put close to a military training area for flight training, how close you can put solar panels to a runway or a control tower.”

SuperNova #2. “I had no thought during my 25 years in uniform that I’m going to get into renewable energy. But once I was there, I was thrilled at trying to leave the place a little better than I found it, trying to help the planet get towards a clean energy future.”

SuperNova #3. “I am incredibly proud that as a consultant, I had a lot of involvement with what is I think, still the Army’s largest and perhaps the Department of Defense’s only hybrid project: 15 megawatts of solar on-base at Fort Hood, and 50 megawatts of off-base wind in Floyd County, about 50 miles away.”

SuperNova #4. “The biggest thing that’s happening right now is wind turbines are getting taller – and both wind and solar prices are coming down – because the technology is getting better.”

Worst Clean Energy Moment: The day when a political appointee and a three star Admiral overturned years of work for an offshore wind project for California.

Ah-Ha:  “The biggest challenge, especially in my niche of trying to make sure that the military and the renewable energy industry coexist peacefully, is to explain and translate to people on both sides the languages and experiences that they don’t really get.”

Best Advice he’s ever received: “Love your people. If you want to accomplish anything, invest yourself wholly in the team that you are part of, or have a chance to lead. And then get out of the way and watch good things happen.”

Personal Success: “Curiosity. And trying to always ask the underlying question and recognizing the mental biases that make us leap to lots of conclusions.”

Internet ResourcesDOD Siting Clearinghouse

Book Recommendation: Once An Eagle by Anton Myrer

Magic Wand: Batteries or storage.

One thing that Energizes today:  An incoming administration that is going to prioritize climate and renewable energy sources.

WTF or F:  Fudge: Getting caught in a squall while sailing in Florida.

Parting Advice: Don’t get into ridiculous arguments, follow the market and let the investment flow to where it’s obviously going.

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Episode 39