Air Conditioning in the desert

Yeah, I know I haven’t been around much. Since I moved locations, the government internet blockage has gotten more strict, so that my blog (as well as many others) is now blocked from my government computer. Funny that I can get to this page to draft a post, but I can’t actually go look at the finished product.

Anyway, I saw this article about how much it costs to provide A/C for the troops over there and it brought me back to some thoughts I had during my deployments. My first deployment was to al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar. The walk to my workplace went past a row of generators and I remember smelling gasoline or diesel fuel and wondering about the cost. At the same time, I remember being there about 4 months and I’m quite sure I could count on one hand the number of days when it was overcast or cloudy. Almost always, it was a clear blue sky. Considering the abundance of sun, I asked myself at the time, why aren’t we investing in a little solar energy for the base? Of course, I had no idea how much it cost. The article focuses on the cost of getting fuel to Afghanistan, so maybe it’s not so bad getting it to Qatar or Iraq. Is it the projected permanence (or lack thereof) that argues against such a course. I can see not doing it in Afghanistan, if it’s not sunny enough or we don’t expect to be there long term (although with a 10+ year war, maybe we need to redefine “long term”). Maybe even Iraq is a problem, although it’s plenty sunny there too I can tell you. But in Qatar, it seems like we’re there for the long haul. I noticed huge, costly improvements and additions on that base on my visit there in 2010, especially as compared to my time there in 2007. I say install some solar on the base and cut the oil consumption by 1/3 or more.

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