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Stephen O'Brien, of The Motley Fool, writes in The Business Insider that, The US Military Could Drive Solar Energy Growth, telling us that the Department of Defense, DOD, spends $20 billion a year on energy making them the largest energy consumer on earth. The DOD intends to derive 25% of its energy from renewable sources by 2025, and is already moving aggressively in that direction.  
 

The Military just recently began construction of a solar power plant at Fort Huachuca in Arizona, where solar panels will be installed over 68 acres, constituting the largest solar array of any military base in the U.S. According to the commanding general of the base, Maj. Gen. Robert Ashley, the project reflects the military's commitment to energy security.

Whether it be engaged in disaster relief, humanitarian missions or in military operations, the military needs reliable energy that is "off the grid," since public electrical utilities are vulnerable to adverse weather conditions and potential sabotage. The military also needs to be ready for possible disruptions to the oil supply, which could cripple it and the nation's economy.  

 

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One strategy our armed forces is using to achieve its renewable goals, is "the creation of "net-zero" environments, where energy consumption equals the energy created on-site."  In Afghanistan this is achieved by using solar arrays at  fixed-site locations, which reduces the high transportation cost that can bring the cost of gasoline to up to $400 per gallon.

More importantly, reducing conspicuous truck convoys carrying highly explosive fuel supplies has reduced casualties, and the need to risk soldier's lives defending vulnerable targets and routes. O'brian cites a U.S. Army study finding that from 2003 to 2007, one out of eight U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq where near such fuel conveys.

DOD is pushing the expansion of residential solar photovoltaics in its stateside bases.  


SolarCity seems particularly well situated to serve the militagy projects for a number of military housing communities. The plan, called "Project SolarStrong," looks to be the largest solar photovoltaic project for residential homes in American history. Up to 120,000 military housing units will be served, with up to 300 megawatts of solar generation.
 

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SolarCity also encourages veterans to apply for employment and features a marine on its website.

So the U.S. armed forces are only keeping our country safe, "sunny and bright," and cutting our carbon footprint as well.

Originally posted to SciTech on Sat Jul 12, 2014 at 02:44 PM PDT.

Also republished by PostHuffPost: Connection-Conversation-Community , Climate Change SOS, Keynesian Kossacks, Good News, Kosowatt, And Now for Something Completely Different , and Military Community Members of Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (33+ / 0-)

    Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited. Artistic License - 420420

    by HoundDog on Sat Jul 12, 2014 at 02:44:50 PM PDT

  •  the military is not stupid--they know how utterly (16+ / 0-)

    dependent they are upon oil--and how completely vulnerable they would be if that oil were cut off.

    THAT is why we have a "Strategic Petroleum Reserve". It's not there so people can heat their houses in the winter--it's there so if our national oil supply is ever cut off, we have enough on hand to invade somebody else and take theirs.

    In the end, reality always wins.

    by Lenny Flank on Sat Jul 12, 2014 at 03:00:53 PM PDT

  •  One of the things I really like the military doing (11+ / 0-)

    I hope politicians would have same goals for civilians too:

    ... is "the creation of "net-zero" environments, where energy consumption equals the energy created on-site."
    The foldable solar panels shown in the first photo really work quite well. We used one and it provided light and electrictiy for laptop and phone. Not bad.

    We know a hell of a lot, but we understand very little. Manfred Max-Neef

    by mimi on Sat Jul 12, 2014 at 03:02:40 PM PDT

    •  You used one overseas deployed in the U.S. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      oldpotsmuggler, mimi, hbk, julesrules39

      military mimi?

      Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited. Artistic License - 420420

      by HoundDog on Sat Jul 12, 2014 at 03:05:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  no, I bought one for my son, who used (8+ / 0-)

        it in HI, when he was off grid. I read before that the military used them a lot and had seen photos of them similar to the one you showed above.

        I even don't know if my son saw them during his Air Force time in Iraq and Korea. I doubt it.

        Have to ask him. Forgot it. Just saying, they are foldable and that is what makes them easy to use and carry with you in the car etc. I don't know if the one we had is the same brand the military used, but I think the company I bought it from, started out selling them after they picked it that specific brand of foldable solar panels up from the military. You chain them together and produce quite some electricity that way.

        We know a hell of a lot, but we understand very little. Manfred Max-Neef

        by mimi on Sat Jul 12, 2014 at 03:15:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Great, I think these even roll up, for convenient (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wilderness voice, hbk, Lawrence

          and light weight for carrying in backpacks. When they first came out several years ago, the whole set-up was several thousand dolars, but the price has come down. May I ask how much you paid for yours?  I like to monitor theses things.

          Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited. Artistic License - 420420

          by HoundDog on Sat Jul 12, 2014 at 03:25:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think I bought them 2008 or 2009 from (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wilderness voice, hbk, HoundDog, Lawrence

            Goal Zero and I think it was the Sherpa 50 Solar kit.

            The panel and battery is still working but the connectors to the converter are not. I paid something like $ 600-700 with some extra stuff, but really don't remember anymore very well. They produce larger ones now. I liked the fact that you could chain several together and could produce all the electricity you need, if you are for example a video editor in a tent somewhere in nature off grid and still want to edit videos on your laptops or PCs etc. We didn't do it, but that's what I liked about the system. My son used it to do his homework on the laptop, while he was living out of a truck. Crazy stuff, no good memories. But the solar panel was "a life saver".

            We know a hell of a lot, but we understand very little. Manfred Max-Neef

            by mimi on Sat Jul 12, 2014 at 03:47:17 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thanks. (0+ / 0-)

              Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited. Artistic License - 420420

              by HoundDog on Sat Jul 12, 2014 at 08:12:06 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  I had my little ASUS netbook hooked up to a (6+ / 0-)

      foldable solar panel too. It was great for kayaking and hiking.

      Alas, now I have a MS Surface tablet, and there isn't yet any connector available for the damn proprietary charging tip. (Why in hell do electronic thingies need to have proprietary chargers anyway, dammit?)

      In the end, reality always wins.

      by Lenny Flank on Sat Jul 12, 2014 at 04:22:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sadly, the politicians, (4+ / 0-)

      aka republicans, are doing their damnedest to stop this instead. Both military and civilian.

      •  The Koch-backed AFP, ALEC and utilities are (0+ / 0-)

        working hard to undermine RES laws and anything else they can come up with to slow the growth of renewables.  And, sadly, the solar and wind lobbies don't have the money to compete with those kinds of donors.

        The nuclear industry has prevented IL from fixing our RES, which was inadvertently broken in 2011 when we started doing municipal aggregation.  The nuclear industry is trying to get the EPA to classifiy nuclear as "clean energy" because of it's low emissions, which seems likely based on comments by Gina McCarthy at the EPA.  Unfortunately, they are trying to take the incentives (REC's) as well.  If our RES is changed to a clean energy law as they want, it will undermine our target of 25% renewables by 2025.  You can be sure if they can get away with this in IL, which is controlled by the Democrats, they'll be canibalizing RES laws in other states.  Plus, the wind PTC expired 12/31/2013.  And, the Republicans are not going to renew it.  So, I see some big challenges for renewables elsewhere.

        The good news is that the military doesn't need an act of congress to move forward.  Thanks for this update!

  •  The military has also done threat assessments (15+ / 0-)

    around global warming, and just plain doesn't want to go there. Our military is clearly doing their part now, and for pretty much all of the right reasons.

    There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

    by oldpotsmuggler on Sat Jul 12, 2014 at 03:07:11 PM PDT

  •  Of course the correct answer is to reduce the (5+ / 0-)

    energy consumption to where the US military isn't the largest energy consumer on earth, not  just by using solar but by reducing to one quarter of it's current size.  It shouldn't be close.   What are we supposed to feel good about this?  

    "Fragmented and confused, we have no plan to combat any of this, but are looking to be saved by the very architects of our ruination."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Sat Jul 12, 2014 at 03:29:16 PM PDT

    •  Agreed. Why are we still paying to keep large (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BigAlinWashSt, hbk, Calamity Jean

      numbers of troops in Europe and Japan? I think I read we have over 750 military bases around the world.

      The DOD suggested that around 150 were completely worthless for any realistic defense purpose but congress will not allow them to be shut since apparently each foreign base has a home support base in the U.S. someplace and no congressman wants to see any cuts in his or her district.

      Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited. Artistic License - 420420

      by HoundDog on Sat Jul 12, 2014 at 03:50:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Last I checked the U.S. is spending $1.2 - 1.4 (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HoundDog, hbk

        trillion per year on defense, intelligence and national security.  That equates to about 60+ percent of the discretionary budget.  That's up from below 40% under Clinton.  

        "Fragmented and confused, we have no plan to combat any of this, but are looking to be saved by the very architects of our ruination."

        by BigAlinWashSt on Sat Jul 12, 2014 at 04:04:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That sound correct. Perhaps you should clarify for (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BigAlinWashSt, hbk, DonMahoney

          readers the definitions of the "base defense budget" and the different levels of additional higher budgets.

          For example, my understanding is that over the last decade sums as large as $100 billion of been included in extra 'off-book" additions.

          Also, the pensions, and long-term health care for solders, is added in a separate additional budget bringing the total up into the high 800 millions. I do no recall if the base current salaries are included in this budget as well, or is included in the base budget.

          Then a number of different intelligence budgets, and homeland security expenses are not included, although they should be based on how they are used.

          Then many more billions have been added post 9/11 for regional "Intelligence Fusion Centers" located in regions across the U.S. to help focus domestic intelligence.

          This still leave out the fact that we learned last week that the NSA uses he DEA as a cover to spy on Latin American corporations and leaders. The Congress aided $5 billion more than the DEA asked for.  

          Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited. Artistic License - 420420

          by HoundDog on Sat Jul 12, 2014 at 05:53:21 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  On your title.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, DonMahoney

    talking about 25% of the military's energy use is different than talking about 25% of the military's electricity used.

    •  The article says 25% of all energy from renewables (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DavidMS, DonMahoney, Odysseus

      as the title implies. However, the article does not mention their use of biofuels, and if the goals is to achieve 25% substitution of fossil fuels, or how the subtotals of component categories breaks outs. I'll have to research this LakeSuperior. Thanks for calling this to my attention.

      The Department of Defense wants renewable energy to make up at least one quarter of its total energy use by 2025, and solar energy is squarely within its sights.  
      Read more: http://www.fool.com/...

      Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited. Artistic License - 420420

      by HoundDog on Sat Jul 12, 2014 at 08:24:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Properly 50-70% of Dollars to MIC Companies (5+ / 0-)

    and something comparable to the govt MIC payroll should be retasked to climate change and alt energy, which represent the only credible existential threat to the country.

    Given that we can't practically shrink the military sector we could at least assign it an actual defensive mission. New national grid, rooftop solar across the country, insulate the continent --

    The reason those companies are in the mayhem business is because they can hype knives and sweater bombs into a threat worse than Hitler. Well this is a real threat and we badly need their talents to publicize it.

    Wouldn't matter that they'd be 80% waste the first few years, that'd still amount to billions per year effectively spent on the problem which nobody knows any conventional way to put to the task.

    How could they refuse? Same companies, same lobbyists, same graft, same inefficiency, same scare tactics, all they have to do is switch enemies.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat Jul 12, 2014 at 03:59:48 PM PDT

    •  Great idea. Funny in a poignant way. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean

      Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited. Artistic License - 420420

      by HoundDog on Sat Jul 12, 2014 at 08:25:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, seriously, climate change is not just a threat (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HoundDog, worldlotus

        to our international security, it poses a threat from within.  People without water, air-conditioning, etc. get pretty agitated.  And, America has more guns than people that can stand up and hold them!

        I read a great article about the coming climate change crisis that will hit south Florida.  There's a great quote from the Mayor of South Miami about the coming mayhem that they will be left with due to the climate deniers running things down there who are Koch shills (the Republicans).

        "The thing about Miami is that when it goes, it will all be gone," says Stoddard. "I used to work at Cornell University and every morning, when I went to work, I climbed more elevation than exists in the entire state of Florida. Our living-room floor here in south Miami is at an elevation of 10 feet above sea level at present. There are significant parts of south Florida that are less than six feet above sea level and which are now under serious threat of inundation."

        Nor will south Florida have to wait that long for the devastation to come. Long before the seas have risen a further three or four feet, there will be irreversible breakdowns in society, he says. "Another foot of sea-level rise will be enough to bring salt water into our fresh water supplies and our sewage system. Those services will be lost when that happens," says Stoddard.

        "You won't be able to flush away your sewage and taps will no longer provide homes with fresh water. Then you will find you will no longer be able to get flood insurance for your home. Land and property values will plummet and people will start to leave. Places like South Miami will no longer be able to raise enough taxes to run our neighbourhoods. Where will we find the money to fund police to protect us or fire services to tackle house fires? Will there even be enough water pressure for their fire hoses? It takes us into all sorts of post-apocalyptic scenarios. And that is only with a one-foot sea-level rise. It makes one thing clear though: mayhem is coming."

        Gotta love this man, the mayor of South Miami.  He is also a biology professor.  He also just called Marco Rubio an idiot in another article today.
  •  Those hippies! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, jan4insight, Lawrence

    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Sat Jul 12, 2014 at 07:03:39 PM PDT

  •  Damn commie librul Military! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, jan4insight, Lawrence

    My wife some years back was a facilitator for a Military conference on the environmental impact of military bases. I wonder if this ultimately comes from that meeting.

    FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes! Progressive Blogging New York: Write Now NY Find me on Linkedin.

    by mole333 on Sat Jul 12, 2014 at 07:10:13 PM PDT

  •  It makes sense (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jan4insight, Lawrence, SGA

    It reduces the cost of maintaining military forces.  The other advantage of the pentagon shifting to green energy sources is that it will bend the cost curve for the rest of us and for themselves.  

    It sounds like a win for everyone.  

    I'm a 4 Freedoms Democrat.

    by DavidMS on Sat Jul 12, 2014 at 08:58:31 PM PDT

  •  25% of (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean, worldlotus

    energy via renewables by 2025 is quite significant.

    And it will move cleantech forward in a major way while bringing the costs down in civilian use of the technologies.  Thus, a win for all.

    Let's hope that Republicans don't succeed in their attempts to thwart this.

    Tipped and recced.

    "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

    by Lawrence on Sun Jul 13, 2014 at 01:45:56 AM PDT

  •  It would do more to save the planet (0+ / 0-)

    to simply reduce U.S. military activity by 25 percent. Continuing to destroy nations through Imperialist policies to steal their resources will not be alleviated  because they use a little wind power to run the bar at the officers club.

  •  The military has a huge challenge with climate (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    worldlotus

    change, not just switching to green energy.  The GOA just issued a report this month that the military is not prepared for the impacts of climate change on it's over 7500 sites around the world.  This work is adapting bases and other installations.  So, migrating to green energy is only a small piece of the much bigger project.

    Of course, right after this happened, the Republicans in the House passed a bill basically prohibiting them to plan for or address climate change.

    I am wondering if Boehner can sue the President for what they consider "not doing his job", why can't someone sue the GOP for threatening national security with those kinds of crazy bills?  

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