The Department of Defense (DOD) has emphasized working with private developers using a variety of alternative financing mechanisms—that is, agreements with private developers to pay back the costs of the projects over time—to develop renewable energy projects greater than 1 megawatt. According to DOD officials, DOD works with private developers because doing so gives DOD several advantages. For example, private developers have access to tax incentives that can significantly lower the overall costs of developing projects compared to what those costs would be if DOD developed the projects on its own.
DOD used various approaches to analyze the financial costs and benefits of the 17 renewable energy projects GAO examined, but project documentation was not always clear or complete. In particular, project documentation did not always clearly identify the value of land used and compare that to any compensation DOD received. Specifically, for 8 projects, DOD received little or no financial compensation for the use of its land, but the documentation did not clearly compare the value for granting use of DOD land to the value of what DOD received for it. As a result, DOD contributed potentially valuable land—in some cases, over 100 acres—for the development of a project without including this as a cost in project documentation.Read the full report