Environmentalists have found a surprising new ally in the push towards a renewable energy future. The New York Times reports that the U.S. military is increasingly looking toward renewable energy technologies to save lives and money. The story comes not long after we reported on the military's opposition to surveillance-interfering wind farms in the U.S.
Citing troop safety and cost savings, military leaders are shfiting to renewable energy to help power campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq. Solar and wind technologies offer the ability to generate power onsite, avoiding the expensive and dangerous task of transporting fuel to remote bases.
Last year, the U.S. Navy introduced the U.S.S. Makin Island, a hybrid amphibious assault ship that runs on electricity instead of gasoline, at speeds under 10 knots. By 2011, the Air Force says its entire fleet with be retrofitted to be able to run on biofuels. A Marine company just hit the soil in Afghanistan using portable solar panels, energy conserving lights, solar tent shields, and solar chargers.
Because of the forces' immense buying power — and the access to technology it provides — those of us that are into renewable energy stand to benefit most from the military's shift. What a marriage.
- Mitchell Flexo
Photo: Aaron Favila/Associated Press