July 29, 2010

Mo' for U on the MOU

This morning you read what drew Will's initial reaction on the DOE-DOD MOU (pdf). I'm starting to worry about his nuclear fetish, but he may be right that that could be one of the more interesting aspects of cooperation given the natural overlap between these departments on nuclear issues.

Right out of the gate, first parapraph: The MOU is to "enhance energy security," yet it specifically covers "water efficiency." No argument here on the overlap, but it's interesting. Bases like Ft. Bliss and many in California and around the Southwest of CONUS are making waves on water efficiency, by necessity. In this case, we've spoken with many of the great Americans working on water conservation tech, and here DOD may be able to disseminate lessons learned from its own experiences.

One other wording choice that I'll flag for you all is in item B: that the departments will maximize collaboration on "emerging energy technologies." This is a big step folks. There are too many federal dollars spent on off-the-shelf energy tech right now, and not enough spent on pulling development along. (See our 2009 report on using DOD installations as testbeds for energy tech, based on a conference full of VCs, energy innovators and security types; and also the brand new CNA report that came online yesterday.)

For those intimate with the DOD energy world (I'm looking at you, aptly named DOD Energy Blog), it's nothing new that the Labs and DOE will continue to collaborate with DOD on many of the specific activities named in this MOU. It's been pretty heartening to watch that cooperation increase over the past few years, especially in California, Hawaii and Colorado, and I'm glad that this long-in-coming MOU finally enshrines this good work.

So then, what do you all think of the MOU?