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Thursday, August 07, 2008

Renewable Energy and the Military

When it comes to our United States military and their “needs” there is what some would call a demand for results in technology when it comes right down to it. Anyone that has worked with the military in the private sector knows that the contracts go to the people with the best idea for what they “need”. There is no better source of expedience when it comes to the private sector than facing a military contract to supply X at date Y and if they like it then contract Z is awarded. The competition for military contracts in the private sector is intense, extremely intense, and a life or death existence for many companies all across America. Make no mistake about it, the people with the best plan can charge the value they think it is worth.

Maybe it would be a good idea for the Pentagon to put out a call to arms for all of the garage inventors in America to hasten the effort to expand renewable energy sources that could be used in the business end of protecting America? One thing is certain with this article from Reuters is that the end result will be something that will eventually pay it forward in your home down the road…

Military wants to lead U.S. into the green

By Bernie Woodall

FORT IRWIN, California (Reuters) - The U.S. military has a history of fostering change, from racial integration to development of the Internet. Now, Pentagon officials say their green energy efforts will help America fight global warming.

By size alone, the Defense Department can make waves. It accounts for 1.5 percent of U.S. energy consumption.

The military has set a goal that 25 percent of its energy should come from renewable sources by 2025 and aims to create machines and methods to help Main Street America reach similar targets, said Alan Shaffer, a retired Air Force officer who leads the Pentagon's research and engineering arm.

Snip and “Atten Hut!”

Renewable energy is not new to the military. Wind turbines supply much of the power used at the isolated U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and the geothermal power plant at the China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station in California has been in operation for two decades.

But urgency to ramp up the program increased in 2006 after Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Richard Zilmer said bringing solar and wind power to the battlefront would cut down on casualties.

"Cost matters. Lives matter more," said Shaffer. "Every time we have to send a convoy out to refuel tanks or deploy forward locations, it puts people's lives at risk."

Make no mistake about this article from Reuters, the Pentagon is hurting from the price of oil and that money has to come from somewhere else to pay for our troops movements. If the money for energy use comes from somewhere else then programs the military really cares about have to be canceled. This policy of our military will change the imprint that our military and their use of energy has and will funnel down to the bases all over the world and thus onto the economy of America. What I find interesting about this military intervention is the fact that they are not embracing renewable energy because they like the idea but the simple fact that they have no choice in the matter. Something all of us in the private sector have faced for two years now and it is looking like we will all have to adjust our energy use for a long time to come.

In the long run, what the military invests in today for renewable energy will be in our homes in five to ten years at the latest. Be it solar, wind, or even pulling energy out of the air in a Tesla type experiment, the end result is the expenses in research and developed applications of our military today will be in our homes in the not so distant future. I would not be surprised to see solar energy conversion go from 30% to 80% in less than five years. Battery technology breaking new barriers and charges that last for days or weeks. Electric powered cars that can run for a week on just one charge. The possibilities are extreme and it will take the power of the U.S. military budget dollars to make the change in our energy sources and usage possible. They alone have the purchasing power to move renewable energy beyond what it is today as a science.

*****Reuters has picked up this post!!! Thank you!

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