He said in the field of operations it also had a significant impact. The military sustains a high volume of casualties from fuel being brought in on convoys—for every 50 convoys brought in a soldier is killed or wounded, according to some reports.
If bases in the field were able to run entirely off renewables then this would negate the need for these risky fuel convoys.
The military has already begun experimenting with portable solar equipment in Afghanistan. The marines there have begun trialling silvery tent liners that increase the efficiency of heaters or air conditioners. Also in use are portable solar-panel blankets, able to power communications gear for a patrol, which means carrying far fewer heavy batteries. One base even features a small shipping container connected to a bank of solar panels that is powering flat screens and surveillance equipment.
As part of this week’s announcement the army unveiled a new 32,000-square-foot laboratory in Warren, just north of Detroit that can simulate Afghanistan’s desert heat and Antarctica’s extreme cold in an effort to discover how to save energy and make combat vehicles fuel-efficient.
“To be honest, your average marine isn’t going to care too much if the tank he’s riding is pumping out CO2, but he is going feel the benefit when the pack he’s carrying weighs 20 pounds less because he’s got a solar charger in there instead of a big heavy battery pack,” he said.
“Energy security is one of the biggest issues we face and the more we embrace renewables, the safer and more secure we’ll be,” Gensler added.