While the war in Iraq is remains a topic for debate, one thing is for sure. The use of renewable and alternative energy sources have proven themselves to be a great ally to the American armed forces.
The US Department of Defense released a news article on August 5, 2009 that described the use and to some degree, necessity of alternative energy in Iraq.
While Iraq struggles to rebuild itself, engineers for Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq have partnered with the Army Corps of Engineers to provide power where traditional power is no longer unavailable.
After years of military conflict the infrastructure of Iraq’s power grid remain in question. The use of alternative energy though is allowing for critical border control checkpoints to operate efficiently and now, environmentally as well.
The command’s engineering team has designed a unique system that leverages solar panels along with a large wind turbine. Engineers designed a rugged system they refer to as “energy in a box” for a checkpoint southeast of the Iraqi capital, connecting the wind turbine and solar panel to the appropriate switch gear to enable both power sources to generate electricity as environmental conditions allow.
Iraqi border enforcement teams run the systems, while U.S. forces provide in-depth training on how to operate and maintain them. As an added benefit, the solar and wind systems cost less over the long term than transporting fuel to large generators every week, officials said.
A solar-powered pump that draws well water into an elevated tank gives Iraqi border enforcement teams a consistent source of drinking water. The pump shuts down when the sun goes down, but the tank delivers a continuous supply of water.
“These efforts assist Iraqi border guards with an indirect capability that helps with security,” said Army Lt. Gen. Frank G. Helmick, commander of Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq.
Reports indicate that by year’s end, one facility southwest of Baghdad will be the first to be fully operated by alternative and renewable energy sources. In 2010, many more solar and wind facilities expect to be erected.