One of the most exciting trends is seeing the change of the U.S. military to green technology. While industry and business are being slow to adapt wind and solar energy technologies. The U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines are showing the world how it can be done. Wind Turbines can be seen on or near Dyess AFB, Sandia AFB, Kirtland, and Edwards AFB.
From simple solar powered “desalination” water plants that give soldiers fresh water in Iraq, to solar and wind power generators for air conditioning and light in the heat of Afghanistan, our soldiers are learning how to do “renewable” in a practical way.
Part of the reason is a federal mandate, ordering the military to reduce “carbon emissions” by use of renewables. The Air Force, for example, has a certain level they have to calculate as a percentage of energy they use overall. If an Air Force base puts up a wind turbine, and makes clean energy, then they get double credits for every kWh of electricity they produce on site. Heidi L. Lestyan, Renewable Energy Analyst for Antares group, says:
“The kicker is an incentive, an Air Force base gets a super bonus for generating clean energy from Wind, and a list is circulated throughout the Air Force, showing which base is in “energy compliance”, and which is not. Every Base Energy Manager, or resource efficiency manager, takes this very seriously, because no one wants to be seen as being out of compliance.”
What the military is teaching us all, is that “Renewable energy works!” said Ben Boothe,Chairman of Wind Inc., a Fort Worth based wind turbine distributor. “We all know that our military uses a lot of energy, now they are learning that energy can be created almost free from the wind or sun, plus units can also work in ‘field conditions’, said Boothe.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently selected the team of ACCIONA Solar Power and the Clark Energy Group to develop a massive solar energy project. The first phase alone consists of five sites over 21 square miles, which will produce a cumulative 500 megawatts of power at the Fort Irwin military complex, located in the Mojave Desert of California.
The base is the U.S. Army`s largest training ground and also houses NASA`s Goldstone Deep Space Communications center.
This effort is in response to a federal mandate that requires the U.S. Army to reduce its energy consumption by 30 percent by 2015 with respect to 2003 levels and to cover 25 percent of its energy consumed with clean, renewable energy by 2025.
Ironic that it may take the military to lead people to see the merits of renewable energy.