No Renewable Power for Coalition Forces in Iraq?
What a pity: Noah Shachtman of Wired's Danger Room reports that the Joint Chiefs of Staff has decided to nix an "urgent" request made by Marine Corps Major General Richard Zilmer, the head of coalition forces in Western Iraq, for renewable power stations. Zilmer's "priority 1" plea called for the installation of 183 solar- and wind turbine-equipped stations which, he argues, would've allowed troops to avoid unnecessarily putting themselves at risk by constantly having to transport fuel to outlying bases along exposed routes.
"If this need is not met, operating forces will remain unnecessarily exposed ... and will continue to accrue preventable Level III and IV serious and grave casualties," he said. He also pointed out that the high cost of the fuel (which can reach up to $400 in Iraq), in addition to the costs incurred by transporting and storing it, made switching over to a renewable source of energy a more financially viable solution. Unfortunately the Joint Chiefs would have none of it. Arguing that the solar and wind-power technologies are "not mature enough" to deploy in a battlefield setting, they recently sent Zilmer a curt rejection notice, almost a year after he made his initial request. They may be deployed following a "technology demonstration" that will take place in the next fiscal year.
On a more positive note, four hybrid-electric power station prototypes from SkyBuilt Power, a company based in Virginia (which we mentioned before here), will soon be tested by the Army's Rapid Equipping Force. If approved, two units will be sent "outside the U.S." (i.e. Afghanistan and Iraq) to be tested on the battlefield, after which a decision will be taken on further deployment options.
Via ::Danger Room: Joint Chiefs Neg "Urgent" Green Power Plea (blog), ::Good: Under the Radar (magazine)
See also: ::Reframing the Military: Earth Restoration Service Argues for Global Military Environmental Efforts, ::Iraq's Marshland Still Not Safe, ::Rumsfeld Directs DOD To Study Energy Alternatives, ::Australian Military Go Solar in The Northern Territory