HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Marines from Combat Logistics Regiment-15 recently installed several Ground Renewable Expeditionary Energy Network Systems [GREENS] at several locations throughout Regional Command (Southwest) to improve the communications reliability of critical assets and to develop new ways to employ expeditionary energy solutions.
The GREENS is an array of solar panels and rechargeable batteries that provide a continuous output of 300 watts of electricity which is used to power electrical equipment and radios.
This installation is in step with the Marine Corps Expeditionary Energy Strategy and Implementation Plan that recognizes the direct link between energy efficiency and combat effectiveness. The plan calls for Marines to adopt new technologies and procedures to become less dependent on traditional energy sources. The more energy efficient the Marine Corps becomes, the more capable they are of operating in expeditionary environments.
Marines from the S-6 communications section, CLR-15 installed GREENS at three different locations throughout RC(SW) including the Munitions Storage Area on Camp Leatherneck and two separate Role II medical facilities.
According to Maj. Denny Meelarp, S-4 officer-in-charge, CLR-15, the GREENS installation provides a backup power supply for the communications equipment at these locations. "We turned to the GREENS in order to provide uninterrupted communications to the commander's priority locations… we installed the GREENS to run parallel but separate to the existing power structure," said Meelarp.
The Role II medical clinics located at Forward Operating Base Shukvani and FOB Payne in Helmand Province stabilize injured coalition servicemembers so they can be safely transferred to follow on medical care at higher levels. They are critical life-saving capabilities and maintaining communication with these facilities is paramount.
"If [Role II clinics] cannot communicate due to a loss of power their ability to send and receive casualties becomes severely degraded. Lives depend on reliable communications nodes at these locations," said Capt. Arun Shankar, S-6 officer-in-charge, CLR-15.
Shankar explained that the installation of GREENS at the clinic at FOB Shukvani took only two hours and that it is easy to use. "In the event of a power outage, users simply unplug network switches from the wall and plug them into the GREENS. Unlike a backup generator, the GREENS requires minimal maintenance."
The GREENS installation has improved the reliability of communications at key locations throughout RC(SW) and is an example of expeditionary energy at work.
"The GREENS is the perfect power solution for communications infrastructure and I definitely see this becoming a solution for tactical networks during expeditionary operations," said Shankar.
Expeditionary energy is a pillar of modernization for the Marine Corps and CLR-15 is giving strength to this concept by taking another step toward developing a lighter, more capable force to win our nation's battles.