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Stranded Convoys in Afghanistan Spark Push for Renewables

You may have seen pictures of hundreds of huge fuel transport trucks stranded on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The border was closed by the Pakistani government following a drone attack that killed several suspected terrorists. The trucks are a handy target for marauding insurgents, who sneak in and torch them under cover of darkness.

There may be something of a silver lining, however.

The Pentagon has just announced that it is hurrying to test portable solar-electric gadgets—generators, low-energy lights, and so on—to replace the diesel and kerosene generators the convoys were sent to resupply with fuel. It's all here in The New York Times.

It's always helpful, when trying to deploy new technologies, to find a buyer who will buy enough of the new stuff to bring the price down quickly. Getting the military to take the lead on some kinds of renewable energy can't hurt.

Neither can this wonderful news out of the White House, which announced this morning that it will install solar-electric and solar-hot-water panels on the roof. Reinstall, that is. Jimmy Carter put solar panels on the White House 30+ years ago. Ronald Reagan took them off. Now Barack Obama will put shiny, modern, new, efficient collectors. BIll McKibben and 350.org deserve credit and our thanks.

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