OKOTA air base, Japan - at the end of this year, two brigades of the army will be deployed in Afghanistan wth solar panels, portable, capable of powering equipment electrical units, the army recently announced.
Under the plan, small units of dismounted infantry will be solar panels that allow them to remain in the field for six days, instead of two, before they need to be resupplied, according to Richard Kidd, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (for energy and sustainability).
The panels also can be recharged the batteries, which means less weight to the soldiers in the war zones, as well as cost savings, said Kidd.
"For the first time last year, the army spent more than half of their funds for rechargeable batteries", he said. "When the war in Afghanistan began, only 2 percent of the batteries are."
The measure is part of the initiative of the army to find alternative sources of energy for his soldiers and bases.
"The army does not have any ecological initiatives in terms of being green for the sake of green," Kidd said. "The army has a number of initiatives for energy security and sustainability that are associated with the success of the Mission in our facilities or operations overseas."
Even in this era of budgetary austerity - the Department of Defense is looking for nearly $500 billion in spending cuts - the army wants to be spending almost three times in their programmes of alternative energy for $120 million this year to $346 million in fiscal year 2013.
The money will help fund of the biomass, wind and solar power generation, as well as work to the post buildings more efficient energy.
Other green initiatives include the construction of "micro-redes" to manage power in Army installations. Sill strong, Bliss, Carson and Hunter Liggett already has micro-redes that allow alternative to the power of grassroots energy if there is a light on the national network cut. Micro networks - can cut power to essential services, such as gyms and playgrounds of food, so that the lights can stay in places such as command posts and fire stations. They are more efficient that the existing army of backup systems, which are generators that can be activated to essential energy in situations of emergency services, said Kidd.
The service is also promoting efforts to reduce the fuel consumption of its fleet of 86,000 vehicles nontactical - largest fleet of the federal Government outside the U.S. Postal Service.UU...
"Last year, we have reduced gasoline consumption by 8 percent by replacing large consumers of gas, a more efficient use of the fleet and the reduction of staff," said Kidd.
A key part of this effort is to ensure that appropriate vehicles are used. For example, workers in the inspection of water meters, used to drive Chevy Suburban pickup trucks in some bases, now drive smaller cars Ford Focus, he said.
It has sense to continue investing in energy efficiency, as well as reducing the defense budget, said Peter Singer, a researcher at the defence of the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC
"There is to look at the issue of spending and savings beyond one budget cycle," said Singer. "Some added spending is that worth if you finish saving more money and more lives in the long term."