Military Power and…Green Power?
Generally, when people hear the words “military power” they picture tanks, aircraft carriers, and fighter-jets–big gas-guzzling machines that generally blow things to smithereens. So, it is no wonder that “military power”, much less“U.S. military power”, fails to conjure up notions associated with green energy.
Yet, soon enough, the largest solar power plant on the North American continent will be built to provide electricity to Nellis Air Force base, situated just outside of Las Vegas. The 140-acre solar plant will be capable of producing 15 megawatts of power, enough to provide Nellis, where 12,000 people work daily and 7,215 live, with 30% of its power needs.
From USA Today: “It allows the Air Force to show its leadership in applying renewable energy and new technology to reduce our needs to use traditional forms of electric power,” says Maj. Don Ohlemacher, operations flight chief and acting commander of the 99th Civil Engineer Squadron at the base.
Aside from the obvious environmental benefits of utilizing solar energy, the U.S. Air Force estimates to save approximately one million dollars in lower energy costs. The savings, however, comes only after millions of dollars worth of incentives subsidiaries by both State and Federal government which allows the U.S. Air Force and its construction partners to build the plant and offer energy at a lower cost than the status quo. However, it is important to note the major obstacles that are still found in solar energy.
From USA Today: Despite three decades of development of the technology, solar energy is expensive, requires large amounts of space and taxpayer subsidies, and doesn’t work at night or on overcast days.“The industry has some problems to solve,” says Paula Mints, associate director and photovoltaic specialist with Navigant Consulting of Palo Alto, Calif. “Solar energy has been around 30 years and is still a start-up industry.”
These obstacles are far from fatal and can be overcome with further technological innovation and by support from State and Federal incentives. Moreover, it is important to understand that solar energy is only one part of the ‘green’ solution to energy production. The benefit of solar energy is best actualized not when it is the sole source of energy for a particular entity, but rather, when it is a part of a consortium of different green technologies producing energy.
Source and full article at USA Today.