US Military Ditching Fuel for Solar Energy
First portable solar panels arrive in Afghanistan
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 5, 2010 7:52 AM CDT
The increased difficulty in transporting oil is leading the military to shift to renewable energy sources. Here, an oil burns after it was allegedly attacked by Taliban on Jalalabad highway.   (AP)
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(Newser) – The US military may be an unlikely poster child for green energy, but with its fuel supply convoys increasingly under attack in Afghanistan, it's working hard to ditch its dependence on fossil fuels—and source its energy from the sun. Last week saw the arrival of portable solar panels and chargers in Helmand Province, where 150 Marines will no longer run their encampment with diesel and kerosene. The reasons behind the shift are compelling: A recent study found that for every 24 fuel convoys that rumbled through Iraq and Afghanistan, one soldier or civilian involved was killed.

It's also pricey: Transporting each gallon of gas to some bases can cost $400. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus says the goal is to have 50% of the energy used by the Navy and Marines come from renewable sources by 2020. "Fossil fuel is the No. 1 thing we import to Afghanistan,” he said, “and guarding that fuel is keeping the troops from doing what they were sent there to do, to fight or engage local people." Click here to read the Washington Post piece—which talks specifically about some of the technology the military hopes to use, and the fact that the military's move could make renewable energy more affordable for the rest of us—in its entirety.