Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Renewable energy on the battlefield.

From Battle Rattle, the blog at Marine Corps Times. 

New solar system powers Marines in Afghanistan

CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan – The Marine Corps has widely fielded a new solar panel system that can power a variety of radios, computers and other devices common in combat operations centers, officials here said...

Each Ground Renewable Expeditionary Energy Network System, or GREENS, includes eight solar panels that are about four feet high and three feet wide, and four batteries that each can store 500 watts of power.
There are currently 106 GREENS systems in Helmand, 75 of which have been fielded to operational units, Schilke said...
GREENS also is now in use on Leatherneck by Tango Battery, 5th Battalion, 11th Marines, which uses it to keep radios and fire control systems for trucks mounted with the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System,  or HIMARS, running.
“They’ve had a problem for years with maintaining power on those systems and keeping them in a ready status,” Schilke said. “Everybody is thinking about this as a FOB solution, but we’re also looking at this as a way to power weapons systems.”
Finally, renewable energy has a chance of being considered perhaps somewhat beneficial by conservatives.
Well, not so fast.  This article points out that the Tea Party / GOP Congress would rather fillibuster than go solar.  Source: Clean Technica

That brings us right back around to the political situation in the U.S. regarding domestic renewable energy policy. The Obama administration has been pushing hard to ensure that the U.S. provides its military with a vigorous research, technology, and domestic manufacturing platform that supports the goal of reducing costs – and reducing casualties – by transitioning out of fossil fuels and into renewables. Meanwhile, some members of Congress are pushing back against renewables just as vigorously in the opposite direction. So the real question is this: while the 3/5 is out there in the line of fire, do your representatives in Congress continue to promote more oil drilling, or do they support our troops?

And here, a Congressman from California makes it very clear what he thinks about renewable energy. Solar power funding threatened by Congress
 "If you take a gun and force taxpayers to hand over their earnings to a solar company, that solar company is going to do very well, but the taxpayers end up getting screwed with nothing to show for it at the end of the day," said Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., who has led efforts by House conservatives to end loan guarantees and grants for the solar industry and other renewable-energy industries. "We've spent billions on technology and research and subsidies, and it's still the most expensive way of generating electricity."


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