The Pentagon Practices 'Electrical Hygiene'

The Pentagon Practices 'Electrical Hygiene'
The Pentagon Practices 'Electrical Hygiene'

Who's the second largest purchaser of renewable energy after Google? No, it's not another groovy tech company with a primary-color bedecked "campus." It's the rather more dreary five-sided building in a Virginia suburb, aka the Pentagon.

That is correct, Sir or Ma'am: "The U.S. Department of Defense is the second-largest buyer of renewable electricity through deals meant to lock in long-term supply and provide incentives to developers of wind and solar projects, according to a database of more than 600 corporate power-purchase agreements (PPA) tracked by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Only Google is a bigger buyer," according to Bloomberg.

This may seem incongruous but it's actually not very surprising: Who else has the kind of budget (huge, opaque, untouchable) to throw at experimental technologies? Who else lives under the rather constant mandate to clean up its act culturally, to live down its politically incorrect past? Why the U.S. military of course.

Firmly under congress's thumb, it has traditionally been the go-to place for social experiments and the Bloomberg article alludes to this with the sentence, "Not surprisingly, Congress, the White House, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff have all encouraged the military to clean up its energy sourcing." In its eleventh paragraph the Bloomberg article also introduces a term this column had never heard before, "electrical hygiene."

"Soldier, clean up your electrical hygiene!" "Sir, yes Sir!"

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