US Army is Shifting Toward Solar Energy and It's Not About Saving the Earth

Gunmen in southwestern Pakistan torched a dozen tankers carrying fuel to NATO troops and killed a driver, police said, the latest strike against supply convoys heading for Afghanistan since Pakistan shut a key border crossing in this 2010 file photo.

The U.S. Army is spending billions of dollars shifting toward solar energy, recycled water and better-insulated tents; not to save the planet but to save more lives. Renewable energy reduces the risks for soldiers since there is no supply chain vulnerability, there are no commodity costs and there’s a lower chance of disruption.

The Army is embracing renewables to make the business of war safer for soldiers. In May, it announced plans to spend $7 billion buying electricity generated by solar, wind, geothermal and biomass projects over the next three decades.

The Army is expanding its effort to become a “net zero” power user, producing as much electricity as it consumes worldwide. The Army’s target is to install 1 gigawatt of renewable capacity by 2025 in the U.S. and to reduce non-tactical fuel consumption 30 percent by 2020 from 2005 levels. A gigawatt is about the same capacity as a new nuclear reactor has.

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