09 Aug How Solar Can Improve National Security
With the amount of sunshine that we have, Nevada is fully capable of becoming independent of fossil fuels. Solar reduces vulnerabilities like grid failure from cyber-attacks and natural disasters. Renewable resources such as solar and wind will enable the U.S. to reduce our carbon footprint and become less dependent on foreign oil. It is this dependency that is our Achilles’ heel.
Our energy infrastructure is archaic and in desperate need of an overhaul. The grid is unreliable, as it is vulnerable to natural disasters and cyber-attacks. Over the years, processes have become automated to save money, but that financial savings comes with its own set of risks. Computerized systems make us more susceptible to cyber-attacks. These attacks can be orchestrated from far away and it can be difficult to track down the perpetrators. The cyber-attacks can debilitate whole systems for long periods of time and incapacitate our way of life.
Our dependency on foreign oil makes us susceptible to price fluctuations and supply disruptions. This can cause great financial hardships for our country, as well as human lives. To be at the mercy of oil countries that may not share the same core values of the U.S. opens us up to vulnerabilities that could cause our downfall.
Solar can lead the path to sustainability. By generating our own energy, we will be better able to take control of our destiny, and not have some foreign power dictate how we live our way of life.
Climate change is also a threat to national security. Environmental catastrophes such as droughts and floods can severely affect our energy infrastructure. Power can be knocked out and cause a domino effect by depriving whole communities from power and disrupting our way of life. Natural disasters have a direct impact on our economy. For instance, floods and droughts can be deadly for farmers who stand to lose whole crops for the season. In some countries where they are not as technologically advanced as the U.S., there is a real tragedy when people are displaced from their homes. Help is often limited and access to food and clean water can be compromised. Once food and water have been depleted, mass migration of people can easily cripple neighboring countries, where people are trying to seek refuge.
Coastal areas are at the forefront of a security risk due to climate change. Flooding affects our transportation infrastructure, such as tunnels and bridges. The Arctic region is another major area affected by climate change. Ecosystems and the economies that depend on them can be severely impacted. Basic survival needs such as food and water are critical elements that the environment can negatively impact and cause serious implications to the framework of our life.
Extreme weather conditions can also put a strain on our military resources. Oftentimes, the situation is so dire, that only the military has the capability and resources to address it. When chaos reigns, security is often stretched to its limits to restore stability.
The U.S. Department of Defense is the world’s largest consumer of fuel. Because oil is a global enterprise, there are dangers associated with its extraction and use. The military is charged with protecting our oil investments, which means that our troops are put in harm’s way every day. We need to focus on moving our energy infrastructure out of the dinosaur ages and into the modern world. Solar energy will enable us to have higher cost savings. Diversifying our renewable energy portfolio will also enable the military to be more secure, effective, and progressive.
Our military is facing increased dangers while out in the field overseas. Fuel convoys are seen as potential targets by our enemies. Our troops face potential death every time they are escorting these convoys. By utilizing solar technology in these remote areas, we enable our troops to provide support in critical situations where power is needed to operate functions necessary for survival in hostile territory.
The countries that we import our oil from generally have unstable governments in place. They are rife with internal conflicts and our relationship with them are tenuous at best. Oftentimes, oil money has been found to have funded terrorist groups. Our dependency on other countries for fuel to power the technology that we use every day puts us in a vulnerable position that would be catastrophic should friendly relations cease.
Due to their firsthand knowledge of how oil affects our country as a whole, many of our veterans are knowledgeable of how renewable energy can play an important role in decreasing our dependence on foreign oil. Many veterans have actually gone and sought for positions in the renewable energy industry once they have returned to civilian life in the U.S.
Terrorist groups are also a major threat to national security. They tend to prey on vulnerabilities exposed in the aftermath of natural disasters. Sometimes, they prey on people’s emotional vulnerabilities for recruitment purposes. Other times, they launch attacks once weaknesses have been exposed. Attractive and potentially damaging targets include electrical substations. They can target the transformers at our substations, thus threatening electricity supplies, and incapacitating our functionality. Transformers are costly pieces of specialized equipment that are not easily replaceable. Terrorists are especially fearsome as they can attack in a physical sense and online. This is disastrous for our country, especially since it is preventable.
There are many entities that are determined to harm our country and our people. In order to protect the future of our country, we have to take a preemptive strike by becoming sustainable through the use of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. We should not have to rely on foreign countries for energy when there is technology that exists today to power ourselves. We must be proactive in our plan of action against future threats.
Our nation has implemented plans to decrease our dependency on foreign oil. For example, the military has applied renewables and alternative fuels into its wheelhouse. Further, the Paris Agreement of 2015, in which nations made a pledge to reduce the amount of carbon emissions was a significant step towards addressing climate change. However, these plans will take time to be fully realized. A focus on a clean energy economy will enable our country to move forward on a path to sustainability. The move to sustainability might incur great financial expenses now, but in the long term, lives will not be at risk.