Following close on the heels of the U.S. Army, which just activated its first wind power project at the Tooele Army Depot in Utah, the U.S. Coast Guard is diving into wind power, too. The new turbine has been installed at the Coast Guard’s Southwest Harbor Base in Maine.
The new turbine is only rated at 2.4 kilowatts, but in this case, size doesn’t matter. What really matters is that the U.S. military has historically been very cautious about adopting wind power partly due to concerns over radio interference, but now with two branches of the armed services getting their feet wet, perhaps a tipping point is near and more clean, renewable wind power is in store across the Department of Defense.
The U.S. Coast Guard and Sustainability
The wind turbine is actually part of a more ambitious program to achieve a net zero carbon footprint for housing at the Southwest Harbor base. As reported by Rich Hewitt in the Bangor Daily News, other renewable energy steps at Southwest include solar panels and solar hot water heaters, along with new electrical systems and improved insulation. An old oil burner was also replaced with a new pellet boiler.
The U.S. Military and Sustainability
When it comes to sustainability, the three largest branches of the armed services have been grabbing all the headlines, from the Army’s new focus on geothermal energy to the Navy’s solar installations and the Air Force’s forays into biofuels. The U.S. Marines are also getting into the act, for example with new portable suitcase-sized solar installations for field use, so it’s good to see the Coast Guard make the leap, too.
Image: Coast Guard lifeboat by mikebaird on flickr.com.
Tina Casey specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. You can also follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.