Engineering Management & Systems Engineering;
School of Engineering & Applied Science

E&EM Program Assists U.S. Congress with Renewable Energy Legislation


Note from Editor: This article was prepared before the tragic news of the shooting of Congresswoman Giffords in Arizona. We are very pleased at the recent wonderful news that Ms. Giffords is experiencing a remarkable recovery and look forward to continuing our work on solar energy with her in the future.

U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords has been a fan of research work undertaken by E&EM doctoral candidate Ariel Castillo. During 2010, Ariel served as one of the early advisors to Congresswoman Giffords and her staff as she devised the Department of Defense Energy Security Act, which she introduced on May 12th, 2010.

Of special note was that Ariel was invited to speak at a Congressional press conference in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill, along with former CIA Director James Woolsey, and other luminaries, where Congresswoman Giffords’ bill was introduced. In his remarks, Ariel stressed the importance of linking the mission readiness of the Department of Defense with reductions in CO2 emissions and improving national security. The bill ties directly to Ariel's PhD research related to solar energy potential at DOD bases, which he is conducting pursuant to a research grant provided to the E&EM program by GW’s Solar Energy Institute.


Representative Giffords, who has a special interest in solar energy due to the fact that she represents Arizona’s 8th Congressional District, is a member of the House Armed Services Committee. At the press conference, Giffords explained that “Energy security is national security. Our nation has become far too reliant on foreign energy sources that are unfriendly or hostile to our interests.”

Giffords’ bill, the Department of Defense Energy Security Act, would help reduce the Pentagon’s $20 billion annual fuel bill through a number of specific steps. Among them is requiring the use of hybrid technology for tactical vehicles, accelerating the production of biofuels for aviation and promoting large-scale renewable energy projects at defense facilities. The bill would require the department to derive a quarter of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025.

An article on Representative Giffords’ bill can be seen at the following link.

A summary of the proposed legislation can be seen by clicking here: Department of Defense Energy Security Act.