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As a young West Point graduate, Kevin Johnson was deployed to Iraq in 2004. He was stationed in Baiji, home to Iraq’s largest oil refinery. Insurgents attacked pipelines there on a regular basis.

Johnson: “As we were serving our mission it was constantly in the shadow of these burning oil fires. It was hard not to see a correlation between the oil economy of Iraq and the Middle East, and our presence in the region.”

The experience convinced Johnson that U.S. dependence on oil puts both soldiers and the economy at risk. So when he returned from active duty, he started fighting for clean energy.

For the past decade, the former Army captain has worked to promote renewable energy. Two years ago, he co-founded a company called CleanCapital, which helps individuals invest in clean energy projects. His partners are also veterans.

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He says that returning soldiers often look for ways to keep serving their country and communities. Many of them are finding their mission in clean energy.

Johnson: “Ten percent of our workforce in solar, and very similar in wind, are veterans that are working day in day out to grow this sector of the economy, and we’re very proud of it and we’re very committed to it.”

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.
Image graphic: Created by David McCarthy.

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