You might think that the big terrorism news today is that we finally got Osama bin Laden. Hah, that shows how much you care about the planet.
Nope today’s big news is that the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base (Gitmo) is going green. As reported this morning by Climatewire,
The isolated Cuban base generates a small fraction of its electricity from four 242-foot wind turbines and has also moved forward to employ solar technologies. The base still receives the majority of its power from a fleet of 20 diesel generators, but it is on the front lines of the Navy’s efforts to slash its fuel use and energy bills.
Jackalyne Pfannenstiel, the assistant secretary of the Navy for energy, installations and environment, traveled to Guantanamo Base last week on the heels of news that the Defense Department fell short of its 2010 sustainability goals for slashing energy intensity and greening its buildings.
“Energy is expensive here in Guantanamo, which makes [implementing] green technology and renewable energy sources much more cost effective here,” said Pfannenstiel. “I want to make sure that the energy efforts being made here are supported,” she added, in a statement.
Future naval bases may have a skyline like Guantanamo Bay’s. Photo courtesy of Department of Defense.
At Guantanamo, the Navy has installed solar lights along its streets and at some of its buildings, said Lewis Mesta, a spokesman for the base. The base also uses a solar array to pump purified water from its desalination plant to one side of the island, he said.
Still, the base could strengthen the effort to green itself by employing biofuels to wean itself off of diesel power and building up more solar and wind power, said Pfannenstiel. “Another [renewable energy source] the Navy is looking at is waste-to-energy conversion,” said Pfannenstiel. “Waste-to-energy is ideal for military bases in general, especially islands.”
Guantanamo’s clean technology efforts kicked off seven years ago when the wind turbines were constructed, serving as an important example of how an isolated base could move toward greater energy independence by “greening” itself.
Beyond standing as a guidepost for the Navy, said Pfannenstiel, Gitmo can also serve as an example of how a typical American town could move toward greater renewable energy sources.
Pfannenstiel comments about the cost-effectiveness of renewable energy are dubious — since, while the Constitution does not apply to Gitmo, the laws of physics and economics do.
We certainly hope that the mission to kill bin Laden was green — i.e., relied on electric helicopters, lead-free ammunition and biodegradable shell-casings. We also hope that airheaded Pfannenstiel et al. are kept as far away as possible from the valiant Navy SEAL program as possible.