Running VA on Sustainable Energy

As you may know, this past Friday was Earth Day; and while “going green” may not be the first characteristic that pops into your head when you think about VA, the Department is making strides when it comes to researching and implementing renewable energy sources.

Fittingly, last Friday (Earth Day) was the dedication of a new wind turbine at the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne, MA. Luckily, cool weather didn’t deter Bourne residents and VA leadership from attending the event. Secretary Shinseki took part in the dedication, and Acting Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs Steve Muro—also a Vietnam Veteran—spoke to the crowd.

“With one of VA’s first wind turbine projects, the Massachusetts National Cemetery is leading the way in the use of renewable energy while providing the burial benefits that New England Veterans and their families have earned,” Muro said.

In coverage by the Cape Cod Times, Secretary Shinseki offers a glimpse of what’s to come from VA in terms of green initiatives:

Under President Barack Obama’s direction, Veterans Affairs, like other federal agencies, is pushing renewable energy and energy conservation, Shinseki said. There are three other Veterans Affairs-based wind energy projects either under construction or in the works, he said. The agency installed 17 solar energy projects in 2010 and seven more are planned this year, he said.

And here’s another quick write-up of the event from UberGizmo.

It might seem like a stretch- tying green energy initiatives to the needs of Veterans, but it’s important to know that the money and resources saved by green innovations (this wind turbine will cover 95 percent of the cemetery’s energy needs!) can be allocated for things Veterans urgently need.

Check out some photos from the dedication of the new wind turbine at Massachusetts National Cemetery.

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11 Comments to “Running VA on Sustainable Energy”

  1. Dan says:

    I would sure like to know the cost of this thing. My understanding is that wind turbines cost about 1.2 million dollars per KW they produce. This doesn’t look like a big unit, but why not report what the contractor received? Most of these things have a 25-30 year life span and it takes about 23 years for them to pay for themselves. Even T-Bone Pickens realized the folly of wind energy.

    Of course we are not figuring in the cost of Secretary Shinseki’s and Mr. Mauro’s plane trip, food and lodging just for a photo op. The “crowd” they spoke to looks smaller than what I see at a family picnic.

    • Brad Jones says:

      Cost is $55000 paid for by TARP money

      • Dan says:

        Cost is $55000, paid for by the American taxpayer.

        Anyway since you know the cost of the windmill, how much was the monthly electrical bill at the cemetery before the installation?

  2. Lisa says:

    In the wake of the imminent budget crisis that we, as a nation, and more specifically, an overgrown, overspending government, are experiencing I HOPE, that the cost savings of these “energy saving” exorberant monstrosities have been evaluated by not only the GAO, but at least two independent studies. It is absolutely proposterous to continue to pay for these things when their actual contribution to our country’s energy needs are a drop in the bucket. I get the fact we need to get off of fossil fuel, but until the cost savings and practicality of alternative energy rises to a more efficient level, I see this as fraud, waste and abuse.

  3. Fredric Alan Maxwell says:

    As a decorated disabled Vietnam-era navy vet, I think the best way to seriously reduce energy costs at the VA is to quit having unpopular wars for dubious reasons so we don’t need them as much.

  4. A. Navy says:

    I wonder if they will be putting any of these at or near Arlington?  As a former Navy Ceremonial Guardsman and a 100% service connected veteran, I would rather not see such a thing near the grave sites of those I have proudly laid to rest, nor my own.

    I am not against such advancements, but I believe they would be put to better use near or at our VAMC’s.  The Hampton, VA VAMC would be a perfect place, at the end of the peninsula, right on the water in the Hampton Roads area.  This way that extra money could go into training it’s staff for both in and outpatient purposes.  They aren’t the most polite or informed, nor are they very motivated to do their jobs.

    “We didn’t inherit this land from our children,” Muro said, paraphrasing a Native American proverb.
    “We’re borrowing it from our children and our grandchildren.”

    I added this for the sheer fact that he had the audacity to use such a quote.  Didn’t we take this land from the Native Americans and push them onto postage stamp sized reservations?

  5. Natasha says:

    It’s an interesting read. I took part in earth day. I hope everyone else did also.

  6. Hooter says:

    To the “Don Quixote” who felt a need to publicize such trivial local project as this windmill, veterans are more concerned with the VA focusing on its primary mission, than this Van Jones ~ Mother Earth garbage.

  7. BILL WITTER says:


  8. Michelle says:

    It would have been much better, in my opinion, to see the money spent on these projects used to put more adjusters in the offices processing claims for veterans in need who have been waiting upwards of a year to have a claim decided.

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