Marines go green: Portable solar power cuts dangerous convoys in Afghanistan

A few years ago, I sat on the Defense Science Board Task Force on DoD Energy Strategy, which took testimony and wrote a report, More Fight “” Less Fuel, on how energy efficiency and renewables makes sense “” and can save lives “” for the military. The findings are here.

Now CAP’s Kristen Bartoloni has the story of how the Marines are starting to embrace clean energy for that very reason:

The Department of Defense is the single largest consumer of energy in the United States, much of it going into fuel convoys in the battlegrounds of Iraq and Afghanistan. But the military is taking steps to build a clean energy future

The Wall Street Journal reports that a company of U.S. Marines in Afghanistan has outfitted their battle gear with solar panels, “replacing hundreds of pounds of spare batteries in their packs with roll-up solar panels the size of placemats to power their battle gear.” The India Company was chosen as the pilot company specifically because it was set to deploy in Sangin, one of the deadliest areas of Afghanistan. Solar power allowed the troops to move “faster and farther than before,” while cutting down on dangerous supply convoys:

Use of the solar gear means helicopters don’t have to ferry extra batteries to the Marines, and trucks don’t have to convoy more fuel for generators. Col. Charette said the gear “has surpassed our expectations.” Keeping extra batteries out of packs means the Marines can move faster and farther than before. Fuel use is down at the company’s patrol bases, because the solar equipment replaces generators, the military says.”

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus has adopted an aggressive renewable energy standard for the Navy – aiming for half of its energy to come from non-fossil fuel sources by 2020, while the Marine Corps wants to cut its fuel use in half by 2025.

Kudos to the Marines and the Navy for understanding the importance of renewables to our future.

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4 Responses to Marines go green: Portable solar power cuts dangerous convoys in Afghanistan

  1. Shelley Ottenbrite says:

    What an upside-down fantasy world story.

    So what if the military uses solar panels?

    They are fighting to monopolize oil and trade.

    Their machines run on oil.

    They are the most carbon spewing entity on earth.

    They are the most polluting entity on earth.

    “Marines go green” — balderdash.

  2. adelady says:

    Roll-up solar panels, fantastic!

    This is one technology disaster relief organisations will stock up on. What an advantage for setting up field hospitals and evacuation centres.

  3. Casey says:

    Shelley, previous reports have made it clear that huge amounts of the oil and gasoline that the U.S. military is using right now is trucked in for use in generators wherever U.S. troops are stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan. So it’s not vehicles using all the gasoline…it’s being used for electricity and cooling. And that can certainly be done with solar or wind energy.

  4. “Marines go green”, that’s an other way to promote renewable and clean energy. However, I was told that the main reason was the efficiency of this kind of equipment, lighter and troops more able to move and act quicker. I’m not sure that the department of defense wanted to be more eco-friendly.