February 22, 2011

Vestas visitors promote clean energy

WINDSOR - Brig. Gen. Steven Anderson's passion for energy efficiency is something that goes firsthand with his experience in the military.

Anderson, 54, who retired in December 2009 and now resides in Arlington, Va., is a champion for clean energy development and isn't afraid to speak his mind about how important it is for the United States to get away from the dependency on foreign oil.

Anderson, who visited and toured the Vestas Blades plant in Windsor on Tuesday afternoon, said not depending on foreign oil is a matter of national security.

"I consider myself an energy warrior, and I'm looking at, what can our nation do to exploit these kinds of energy technologies to the greatest common good?" said Anderson, who toured the 750-employee Vestas plant with Richard Allen Smith, the western regional director of Vet Voice Foundation, a national veterans' group that pushes for clean energy as a road to national security. "I am convinced that we can do things in military installations throughout the United States to exploit these kind of capabilities to tremendously secure our installations better and to help address the greatest threat to our nation which is our over reliance on foreign oil."

Anderson and Smith also toured solar energy systems built by Bella Energy on the campus of Colorado State University in Fort Collins and the Abound Solar manufacturing facility in Longmont.

"I'm here because I'm trying to help push to learn about these kind of capabilities and to get the Department of Defense and people in Washington to understand the relationship between energy efficiency and military effectiveness, and get the Department of Defense to institute policies at the very level that require our military to stop using so much oil and start using more renewable energy," Anderson said. "Foreign oil or whatever, it still makes us vulnerable."

Anderson, who has more than 31 years of experience in the U.S. Department of Defense operations, worked directly under Gen. David Petraeus for 15 months as the senior U.S. and coalition logistician in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

"In Iraq and Afghanistan, we're getting kids killed moving fuel," Anderson said. "Perhaps as many as 1,000 Americans have been killed moving fuel missions over the last seven or eight years. I'm not sure if I would see one of these 55-meter wind turbines in Afghanistan anytime soon, but nevertheless wind technology, geothermals, solar technologies are all the things that can be leveraged in Iraq and Afghanistan." 

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