Logistics: Windmills as Weapons


August 13, 2006: As more American troops spend more time battling Islamic terrorists in western Iraq, they are finding that more of their combat troops are being tied up protecting resupply convoys. The trucks carrying fuel and ammunition are particularly vulnerable, and American troops are proud of the fact that very few of these, very explosive, vehicles have been lost. That's because fuel and ammo convoys get air cover and lots of experienced ground troops, armored vehicles and expert planning to make sure the enemy never has a good chance to light up one of the supply trucks.
Commanders have done the math and realized that, if they could use renewable forms of energy at bases in western Iraq, fewer truckloads of fuel would be required, and more combat troops out there could be chasing hostile forces. As a result, the commanders are calling for immediate shipments of solar panels, wind turbine generators and fuel cell generators. All three of these technologies are available off-the-shelf, as they are used by commercial operations with facilities in remote areas. In these cases it's cheaper to use these renewable electricity sources, even though the juice is more expensive (because of the higher cost of the solar panels, wind turbines or fuel cell technology) per kilowatt, because of the high cost of transporting diesel oil to the remote locations. Same logic for western Iraq, except in this case, the higher transportation cost is a result of the expensive security effort.
SOCOM has already been checking out these renewable energy sources as a better way to provide electricity to Special Forces detachments in isolated areas.


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