They’d better hope it’s not cloudy.
Vice President Kamala Harris on Friday told graduating Naval Academy midshipmen that they may soon be able to pack a “rolled-up solar panel” instead of heavy batteries — an ahead-of-its-time substitute that, at the present moment, would not work so well at crucial moments for the top seamen and Marines.
“Just ask any Marine today: Would she rather carry 20 pounds of batteries or a rolled-up solar panel?” Harris told the Naval Academy’s 2021 class of 778 men and 306 women at their graduation ceremony in Annapolis, Md.
“And I am positive, she will tell you a solar panel. And so would he!” Harris said.
The vice president laughed as she made the last remark.
Solar energy, which requires batteries, is dependent on the weather and cannot be accumulated at night.
But Harris said climate change must be addressed by everyone, including the military, given that the US has entered a “new epoch” where related security challenges have expanded.
She cited the COVID-19 pandemic as evidence of the world’s interconnectedness and the recent hack-related shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline, which caused gas shortages across the Southeast.
“There is climate change, which is a very real threat to our national security,” Harris said, adding a dominant Biden administration policy focus into the speech, but omitting the top threat of China from her list.
“And I look at you and I know you are among the experts who will navigate and mitigate this threat. You are ocean engineers who will help you navigate ships through thinning ice. You are mechanical engineers who will help reinforce sinking bases. You are electrical engineers who will soon help convert solar and wind energy into power, convert solar and wind energy into combat power.”
Harris’ speech followed President Biden’s graduation talk earlier this month at the US Coast Guard Academy, where he turned on his audience when his jokes fell flat, tauntingly telling them, “You are a really dull class.”