Did you know that the U.S. military is making some considerableprogress in the realms of energy efficiency and renewable energy? It’strue. Consider the following not-so-exhaustive list:
- The Air Force is working on plans for a concentrating solar power plant in Hawaii.
- The U.S. Marine Corps is utilizing something called the Ground Renewable Expeditionary Energy System, a portable solar-power charging station. Appropriately dubbed GREENS by its acronym, the system provides a portable, flexible power solutionfor soldiers in the field.
- The Marine Corps’ Camp Lejeune in North Carolina is installing a solar water heating system that meets 75 percent of the facility’s hot water needs.
- The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is working with Boeing to develop a solar-powered spy plane that will be able to fly non-stop for five years.
- A number of other solar-powered devices are in the works to help U.S. soldiers in the field.
- The Navy, meanwhile, continues to reduce it energy consumption.
Beyond these initiatives, it bears noting that, in absolute terms,the U.S. Air Force perennially ranks among the top ten biggestpurchasers of green power, according the EPA’s Green Power Partnership program. These efforts are part of a broader Air Force plan to meet 25 percentof base energy needs via renewable sources by 2025. Just a few days ago, in fact, the U.S Air Force Academy announced it will partner with SunPower to develop a 6-megawatt solar energy system in Colorado.
To be sure, we’d be the last ones to suggest that one of these babies will ever be powered solely by solar panels. It’s just not going tohappen. And, taken on the whole, our military still uses a seriousamount of energy. But the Pentagon’s efforts to diversify its energy mix — and reduce its energy consumption — merit our attention.
As do our men and women in uniform, past and present. Thank you, veterans!