This June, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) plans to dispatch more than 1,000 soldiers to Hungary for 12 days to test the battlefield use of solar panels, wind turbines and other self-contained power grids, reports Bloomberg News
"A lot of people are crippled or die transporting fuel and water," Susanne Michaelis, NATO's officer for smart energy, tells REW. "If you attack a fuel truck, it explodes and burns all fuel. There's no stopping it. If you shoot at solar cells, one may break, but it doesn't explode and all the other cells will still be working."
As part of the "solar war games," soldiers will conduct war-game scenarios in which "smart energy" equipment can be used in set situations, such as flooded roads and water contamination, according to a NATO presentation
provided to Bloomberg.
The exercise reflects a growing desire among armies to adopt renewable energy programs and are more willing than some larger customers to test the new technologies.
"Armed forces in many countries are viewing renewables as an important option from the point of view of security of supply and diversity of energy sources," says Bloomberg New Energy Finance analyst Angus McCrone.
The soldiers will also participate in the exercise Capable Logistician 2015, which takes place from June 8 to 19, and will feature a number of private companies that will contribute equipment and expertise for "smart energy" production, storage, distribution and consumption, according to NATO
Another workshop will allow public sector experts from ministries of defense and universities to observe "the testing of interoperability of equipment and discuss the outcomes, with a view to providing inputs for NATO standards that are needed to ensure interoperability in 'smart energy' solutions," according to NATO.
This summer's tests are not the first foray by NATO into renewable energy drills. In June 2013, the organization held a demonstration camp in Slovakia at which energy-efficient equipment and materials were showcased to more than 500 visitors.
In addition to raising awareness, the Smart Energy camp had another important goal: to help NATO's Smart Energy Team (SENT) to formulate recommendations for improving NATO's standards and best practices on saving energy.
According to NATO, the Smart Energy Team (SENT) was established after a summit in May 2012 and is jointly directed by the Lithuania-based NATO Energy Security Center of Excellence and by the Joint Environment Department of the Swedish Armed Forces.
SENT is part of a wide range of "Smart Defense"
initiatives adopted by NATO as part of its efforts to help lower fuel and electricity consumption.
It is comprised of experts from eight nations, including six allies (Canada, Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States) and two partners (Australia and Sweden).
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