Bioenergy, Microgrids, Solar, Wind Power

Modular Renewables for the Military

The military spends a lot of money and manpower getting fossil energies to combat troops. Over the last 4 years, there have been more calls to get modular wind and solar units deployed in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.

According to 2004 figures from the Defense Energy Support Center, the U.S. military spent about $18 billion in 2008 on fuel. Much of that money is spend just transporting fuel around the battlefield.

In the last few years, the U.S. Department of Defense has been a big supporter of renewable fuels and electricity, seeing them as both cost-savers and life-savers (after all, convoys trucking large amounts of fuel around are good targets).

Over the last few years, the military has invested in “micro-grids” at bases. In June, the Army awarded Honeywell a $4.6 million contract to demonstrate the concept in Hawaii. A similar contract was awarded to GE a year earlier.

This week, a company called SkyBuilt Power announced a contract with the Army to sell it distributed power units for troops in Afghanistan. The SkyStation has solar modules, a small wind turbine, a back up electricity system, water purification and communications capabilities. The options can be mixed and matched depending on the needs.

SkyBuilt was tight-lipped about the number and cost of systems it was selling to the Army. But it says the units, which can be set up in under and hour, will pay back in one to two years.

In the video below, General David Petraeus talks about the military’s effort to deploy more renewable energy in Afghanistan.