This article originally appeared on the website The Sundial, the student media organization of California State University Northridge, under the title Green Development LLC and the Role of Renewable Energy in National Security.
The energy supply of the United States is essential for both the economy and national security. Forming and developing renewable energy assets is an essential part of creating a more resilient energy supply. These sources are more localized, making them harder targets for terrorist organizations and less susceptible to catastrophic weather events. They do not contain single points of failure like natural gas pipelines and are integral to national security.
Below, Green Development LLC details the most common threats to the electric supply and explains how renewable energy seeks to overcome these dangers.
Threats to Electricity Supply
As noted above, the current United States electrical grid faces several external threats. A single catastrophic event could have far-reaching effects, leaving millions without power. Not only could this cripple the economy and endanger lives, but it could also leave the nation defenseless against foreign entities.
Severe weather events have become increasingly frequent in recent years and show no signs of slowing down. The most recent evidence of this is the Texas blackout in February of 2021. In areas hardest hit by the extreme winter storm, most of the homes and businesses that did not lose power had installed battery storage systems along with their rooftop solar arrays. For an estimated 70% of homes and businesses in the state, the combination of the cold weather and lack of preparation on behalf of the energy companies resulted in forced shutdowns. Fortunately, they were able to avoid more drastic damage, but what about next time?
The phrase “anthropogenic” simply refers to environmental changes that are caused or influenced by humanity. These changes can be either direct or indirect. In terms of the energy industry, anthropogenic changes can take the form of cyberattacks, physical terroristic acts, or electromagnetic pulses (EMPs).
Any of the forced changes detailed above could wipe out an entire section of the grid. With our increasingly interconnected world, cyberattacks are especially concerning. The energy sector has placed heavy reliance on automation and wireless communication, making it easier for a few bad actors to cripple power plants.
Natural disasters and terrorist attacks are not the only threats being faced by our fossil fuel-reliant power network. International conflicts could limit oil supplies, driving up prices, or causing a complete failure of our current system. In addition, space-based electromagnetic events could cripple our national power grid. A massive solar flare could emit enough electromagnetic energy to create such a disruption.
The Benefits of Solar and Wind
Unlike regional fossil fuel power networks, solar and wind-based power sources are uniquely capable of withstanding the threats described above. This resilience can make the nation more secure while also protecting the economy in the event of a major catastrophe or international conflict. The benefits of solar and wind-based power networks include:
- Zero reliance on global fuel supply
- Free and inexhaustible fuel
- Smaller, decentralized power generation
- Massive resource at the point of use
- Rapidly deployable
As you can see, green energy solutions are the clear choice when building a safer and more secure power supply network.
Department of Defense and Renewable Energy
Currently, the U.S. DOD is the largest consumer of energy in the world. Active troops need reliable energy sources to carry out their missions. Renewable energy installations, which can be rapidly deployed onsite, do not depend upon the successful transport of flammable fossil fuels through hostile territories. In addition, most large permanent military bases in the US avoid power outages and reduce energy costs through a combination of onsite renewable energy sources and remote/virtual net metering agreements.
Green Development LLC continues to be a trailblazer in the renewable energy space by increasing the supply of renewable energy in Rhode Island and contributing to the nation’s aggressive decarbonization goals.