Following in the footsteps of the U.S. military’s embracing of renewable energy, such as fighter jets running on biofuel and hydrogen fuel cell powered tanks, the U.S. coast guard has decided to use wind power by installing a turbine at their Southwest Harbor Base in Maine. The turbine is part of a more amibitious program to achieve a zero carbon footprint at the station. Some of the other plans include installing solar panels and solar hot water heaters along with new electrical systems and improve insulation in order to reduce emissions and cut costs.
The turbine will reportedly be rated at 2.4 kilowatts, providing the base with clean energy. Sitting atop a 70-foot tower, it will power a duplex housing unit on the base. Capt. James McPherson, the sector chief for Coast Guard Sector Northern New England, told the Bangor Daily News that system upgrades, including insulation improvements, will commence in October. The commanding officer also said that wind power is being considered at other base housing units in Maine and at other sites around the country.
Image © Tran’s World Productions
“We want to be good stewards of the environment and we want to be careful how we spend tax payer dollars, but we also think the debate is over whether we need to go alternative energy,” McPherson said. “We need to do that, we need to explore that. We’re glad to do that here.”
The armed services have historically been very cautious about adopting wind power due to concerns over radio interference. However the coast guard’s adoption of wind power would seem to indicate that such concerns are in the past and that the Department of Defense may be utilizing wind power in more of their installations. Overall the U.S. Army and Navy also are making a big push to embrace renewable energy sources to help the Defense Department meet its internal goal of generating 25 percent of all energy from renewable sources by 2025.
Lead image: © Flickr MikeBaird