The recent announcement that Redstone Arsenal will house the largest solar installation in the state is great news for Huntsville and Alabama, but also a reminder of how much work remains to be done. If solar installations are a force multiplier for the military, they are also a force multiplier for communities throughout our state. If our local communities adopted the same commitment demonstrated by the US Army we could open up a significant wealth creation opportunity and in doing so build stronger and more resilient communities.
Consider this quote from Richard Kidd, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Energy and Sustainability, “We look at renewable energy as a means to secure energy for our installations. We are not doing these projects for politically motivated reasons or because of the mandate (energy goal of 25 percent production of energy from renewable sources by 2025). We are doing them for mission effectiveness.”
Redstone Arsenal goes solar!
He clearly states that renewable energy is simply the strongest way to secure clean, reliable and affordable energy in order to accomplish the Army’s mission. Losing power for a week is not an option when lives are on the line. Not to mention that this monumental effort is being accomplished with private money. No additional burden to taxpayers and the Army gets predictable and affordable prices. What could be better?
Spoiler alert! What would be better is a thoughtful but determined approach by towns and cities across Alabama to begin their switch to clean energy as well.
Just the fact that there were no prime contractors from the great state of Alabama bidding on this opportunity demonstrates how far behind we are.
But we, too, can do this. The magnitude of Redstone’s announcement may fade but the challenge will remain: how we respond as a community and as a state to this wholly feasible opportunity to generate our own clean, reliable and affordable energy. Will our communities also start to build resiliency? Will we see wisdom in the Army’s electricity choices? It won’t happen overnight but let us begin now.