When I think of Guantanamo Bay (Gitmo), I don’t think of it as a renewable energy proving ground, but that may be changing in the coming years. Annie Snider of Greenwire takes an in-depth look at green energy options at the military base in her article for The New York Times, Could Alternative Energy Be Gitmo’s Next Legacy?
Currently the Department of Defense spends about $80,000 per day for fuel and accessories to run the onsite generators. The generators not only provide electricity to the buildings but it helps keep the all-important desalinization plant up and running. The plant provides fresh water to residents and prisoners on base. If something were to cut off this supply of fuel, the island would swelter in the tropical heat. This is where it becomes obvious that renewable energy generated on-site is an important part of improving security at the base.
Tim Wagoner, resource efficiencies manager at Gitmo, discussed green energy projects on base with Snider:
"We've got a top-down strategy for renewables for the base with 15 sites identified for different renewable projects. At the same time, if we get a big project like our gym renovation project ... then we have the opportunity to say, 'Hey, we can add this much solar power to the building to get it closer to a net-zero building, can we move forward with that?' We've had a lot of success moving things forward that way."
Perhaps the upcoming changes at Gitmo could be used as a blueprint for other military bases. It certainly wouldn’t be the first eco-minded step for the military; check out this gallery for others: 6 green things the U.S. military is doing.