Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar signed a memorandum of understanding on Aug. 6 to encourage development of renewable-energy projects on public lands set aside for defense-related purposes and other onshore and offshore areas near military installations.

The memorandum sets out the guiding principles for how the two departments will work together to increase renewable-power projects on or near the nation's military installations.

In the U.S., DOD installations encompass roughly 28 million acres, of which 16 million acres—previously managed by the Dept. of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management (BLM)—were withdrawn for military use by executive order, congressional legislation or departmental regulations. The majority of the withdrawn land—approximately 13 million acres—is located in the western U.S.

As part of the memorandum of understanding, DOD and BLM will develop a pilot process for authorizing solar projects on several military installations.