Reducing the energy consumption of the military is 'an operational imperative' and can save soldier lives, according to military alliance NATO.
In its Annual Report 2015, NATO said that climate change affects “not only the natural environment but the security environment as well”.
The report states: “NATO is working to improve the energy efficiency of its forces and increase the use of renewable energy in the military... Smart energy solutions can not only save money when less fuel is used, but can also save soldiers' lives, and help improve the mobility, as well as the resilience and endurance of military forces”
To achieve this operational goal of reducing energy consumption, NATO forces implemented a range of initiatives in 2015.
In June, 1,700 troops carried out trial combat operations while utilising low-carbon technologies such as roll-up solar panels, micro grids to improve a camp’s energy management; low-energy technologies for water purification; LED lights; and small portable fuel cells. The organisation also conducted its first ever Energy Security Strategic Awareness Course.
“Innovations like roll-up solar panels not only reduce the carbon footprint of military activities but also reduce the risk to human life that often comes with transporting fuel in dangerous areas,” adds the NATO report.
NATO’s efficiency focus is reflective of a growing trend among military forces. The US Navy is implementing an initiative known as the Great Green Fleet, which aims to highlight how the Navy and Marine Corps are using energy efficiency and alternative energy to increase combat capability and operational flexibility.
According to the Navy, “transforming our energy use enables us to be better warfighters, to go farther, stay longer and deliver more firepower”. In this mindset has seen the Navy introduce biofuel into its warships and agree a solar power purchasing agreement.