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U.S. Air Force Cracks Top 20 List for Green Power

U.S. Air Force are major consumers of green energy, mainly from wind.Joining the ranks of such green notables as San Francisco and Portland Oregon, the U.S. Air Force has made the top 20 List of On-Site Green Power Purchasers.  The quarterly list is a subset of the U.S. EPA’s Green Power Partnership program.  It includes organizations, businesses or government entities that purchase sustainable power from sources based in the U.S.A., either directly or through the use of Renewable Energy Certificates.

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U.S. Air Force Bases Go Green

The U.S. Air Force won its 13th place slot for sustainable energy actions dating back to 2002, when the Cannon Air Force Base in New Mexico began purchasing wind power.  Since then, wind power has played the pivotal role.  Among a number of bases entering the wind market since 2002, Fairchild Air Force Base in Washington State gets almost 100% of its power from green sources, primarily wind.  Dyess Air Force Base in Texas also gets 100% of its electricity from wind.  Solar and other green sources are playing a part, too.  For example, Goodfellow Air Force Base in Texas gets 40% of its electricity from biomass.

U.S. Air Force Supporting Local Green Jobs

Aside from reducing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, a number of the Air Force’s wind purchases have gone to support local wind power installations at the start-up level.  One good example is the Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota, home to the 28th Bomb Wing.  The base jumped on the opportunity to contract with the Rosebud Sioux Tribe as one of the first customers for its new 750 KW wind turbine, which helped to prove the utility scale viability of perhaps the most underused major energy resource in the U.S.  The Department of Energy estimates that wind power in the Great Plains region alone has the potential to generate more than 300 gigawatts of electricity, roughly half of the entire existing generating capacity in this country.

U.S. Air Force Turns Blue Skies Green

Though not included in the Top 20 On-Site criteria, the Air Force’s work in developing alternative aviation fuels is also a significant step forward.  Solar powered drones, solar-hydrogen fuel cell blimps, and synthetic diesel are just a few examples.  The Air Force also wins green points for nature conservation, as illustrated most recently by the military’s efforts to fight urban sprawl around Camp Bullis in San Antonio, a multi-use training ground (including the Air Force) that happens to be an important habitat for the endangered golden cheeked warbler.

Image: DVIDSHUB on flickr.com.

 

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Written By

Tina specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.

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