photo: US DoD
Another part of the $787 billion stimulus package is going towards green energy projects: About $20 billion in fact, including $3.6 billion for energy efficiency improvements and facility upgrades at the Department of Defense. Nathan Hodge over at Wired points out some of the US military's genuine efforts to green, such as a planned 500MW solar thermal power plant at Fort Irwin, then poses the question of whether "defense contractors who build tanks and bombs will start rebranding themselves as green saviors?" and admits that it might be a cynical question to ask. It is, and here's why:
Say what you like about the military in terms of the way wars are waged, the necessity or lack thereof of them, but the US military is making some genuine efforts to green their act. They may have more to do with operational strategy, energy independence and fighting effectiveness than green ethics, but the end result can be good for all of us.
Like It Or Not, Technology Often Trickles Down From Military
As the US military consumes obscene amounts of fuel , if that starts coming from truly green sources and not from petroleum or liquid coal (or faux-green sources like byproducts of factory farming ), then this is a good thing for transportation in general. If the Army develops better fuel cells for soldiers on extended patrols these will be adapted for civilian usage. If the Navy starts putting solar panels on base housing and the Army builds a massive solar power plant, then it really sends a powerful message that renewable energy is a viable technology, today.
Undoubtedly some of these projects will be gobbled up by military-industrial complex cronies, and costs inflated along the way—that's an undeniable problem—but the green benefits of the projects also can't be denied and probably outweigh any misplaced marketing as 'green saviors'.
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