Tuesday, 12 October 2010

The Green Army

Another big story this month is the news that the US Military has decided to turn to renewables in its constant quest for a new battlefield edge. Though it could also be due to a new found love of the environment I suspect the reasons are primarily tactical and perhaps financial. The House reports that Pentagon Officials have advised the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee that by the time a gallon of fuel reaches Afghanistan it costs the military approximately $400. That cost does not include the human costs associated with moving large volumes of fuel into the heart of a landlocked nation.

Anything that saves the lives of soldiers is a good thing in my book but this will also result in a large new market for renewable energy technology. The military is probably (I have no stats to back this up) one of the largest buyers of advanced manufactured goods in almost every industrialised country. A shift towards buying advanced ruggedised products will change the economics of many products and companies. When the Military buys things it usually buys big, especially when it comes to energy. The New York Times reports that the Secretary to the Navy wants 50% of the energy for the Marines and Navy to come from renewable sources by 2020. The first items that are reportedly being tested by 150 Marines include solar panels, energy conserving lights and solar shields that provide power and shade.

This is on top of the incorporation of hybrid technology in Naval ships with the commissioning of the USS Makin Island which runs on electric power at low speeds.

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