There have always been critics who challenge every new idea or new technology as too costly or too risky, questioning the effectiveness of trading a proven method or platform or an existing supply chain for an uncertain, expensive replacement. In this budget-constrained environment, cost must be a concern and we must be careful stewards of taxpayer dollars. But our first mission must be to protect our nation by assuring stability around the globe. If concerns over cost and fear of change had carried the day, we would still be using sails. We never would have built aircraft carriers nor become the only nation that launches and lands aircraft off them day or night. We never would have pioneered nuclear power, nor would we build nuclear carriers and submarines today, because they remain far more expensive than conventional models. We do these things because they give us a technological advantage. They make the Navy and Marine Corps better warfighters. As blacksmiths and battleship admirals prove, change is inevitable and irresistible.
Advanced biofuel prices have dropped dramatically since the Navy first purchased test amounts. Now, in concert with the effort directed by President Obama, more and more industries are investing in biofuels, helping speed the day when a competitive, American alternative to fossil fuels becomes available. Several commercial airlines -- including Alaska Airlines, Lufthansa, and the world's largest carrier, United Airlines -- have completed test flights on advanced biofuel. More will follow as the business case for biofuel improves, a development helped along by rising oil prices and the carbon-trading scheme for commercial aviation that took effect in the European Union last year. Although international compliance has been deferred, all flights within and between EU countries and Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway must either fly on drop-in biofuels or pay to offset their carbon emissions. Other nations pursuing advanced biofuels like Brazil, Australia, and Singapore create the potential for increased cooperation on research, development, deployment, and increased security for our allies. Canada is examining biofuels as an alternative to power its navy, and Italy has begun an advanced biofuels testing and qualification program for its fleet.
Increased demand has also lowered prices for other energy alternatives for the Navy ashore. On three California installations, we have power purchase agreements projected cumulatively to save $20 million. These illustrate how we will execute our one-gigawatt renewable energy strategy, announced by the president in his 2012 State of the Union address. That strategy will produce enough clean energy to power the equivalent of a quarter of a million homes annually and improve security by producing more power available independent of the U.S. grid at the same price or lower than conventional power.
Energy efficiencies are a critical component in reaching our goals. The amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island has a hybrid-electric propulsion system that powers the ship at low speeds while using gas turbines for less frequently used higher speeds. On its most recent deployment, the ship spent less than half its $33 million fuel budget. The new amphibious assault ships USS America and USS Tripoli will also use this hybrid system.
Diversifying energy supplies doesn't just save money, it saves lives. A Marine Corps study found during the height of the fighting in Afghanistan that one Marine was killed or wounded for every 50 convoys. Most convoys transported fuel and water, so cutting fuel means fewer convoys and fewer casualties. In one example alone, the Third Battalion, Fifth Marines, deployed in the middle of heavy fighting in Sangin Province, cut fossil fuel use and supply requirements by 25 percent at main operating bases and up to 90 percent at combat outposts with more efficient equipment and alternative power.
This energy mission can also reaffirm American leadership in innovation. If we do not lead, we will be left behind. In the mid-1990s, the United States was a global leader in solar technology; today, it is China. China is also making major investments in biofuels, including successful tests by Air China, and plans for a ten-fold increase in production over the next decade. With oil prices rising, many importers -- like Morocco and Jordan (solar power) and Egypt and Tunisia (wind) -- are moving to alternatives, while oil exporters expand domestic alternative energy use so they can export more oil. Saudi Arabia recently announced a target of 54 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2032.
Each revolution in energy changed the nature of warfare and made the Navy stronger, more effective, and better able to defend the United States and our interests around the world. Today, we have the opportunity to be present at the creation of a new energy future, which will strengthen our national security even as it creates an engine for a new economy and provides for more stability around the globe. This opportunity cannot be undermined by present-day naysayers who refuse to envision the future, even when the path is illuminated by past successes. For 237 years, the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps have led the way, and we will again -- innovating, adapting, and emerging victorious.