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Monday, October 02, 2006

Iraq's new "green" zone

Apparently, some on-the-ground officials in the US military want to go green. From the Christian Science Monitor, September 7:
Memo to Pentagon brass from the top United States commander in western Iraq: Renewable energy - solar and wind-power generators - urgently needed to help win the fight. Send soon.

Calling for more energy in the middle of oil-rich Iraq might sound odd to some. But not to Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Richard Zilmer, whose deputies on July 25 sent the Pentagon a "Priority 1" request for "a self-sustainable energy solution" including "solar panels and wind turbines."

The memo may be the first time a frontline commander has called for renewable-energy backup in battle. Indeed, it underscores the urgency: Without renewable power, US forces "will remain unnecessarily exposed" and will "continue to accrue preventable ... serious and grave casualties," the memo says.

..."Without this solution, personnel loss rates are likely to continue at their current rate," the memo says. "Continued casualty accumulation exhibits potential to jeopardize mission success."
The current diesel generators are hot and loud, and make it easier for foes to find US forces. The Army is following up on this request and hopes to find a company to ship nearly 200 frontline renewable energy power stations to Iraq ASAP.

The CSM article is filled with details about how renewable energy might be to the military's advantage -- less need to carry heavy batteries, lowered fuel costs over the long-haul, increased ability to redeploy forces currently assigned to carry fuel, etc.

I missed this story when it originally appeared, but the environmental group World Watch brought it to my attention.

Incidentally, this is not them military's first venture into green energy. The Naval Station at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, recently started using four large wind turbines and they now provide 25% of the electricity there.

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