General: Military supports wind power despite concerns that turbines can block radar

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Military supports wind power despite radar worries

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — A U.S. general is trying to reassure the public the military supports wind power and other alternative energy, despite his concerns that turbines may block radar that detects threats to North America.

Air Force Gen. Gene Renuart, head of U.S. Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command, wrote on his official blog this week that both commands are committed to homeland defense and clean energy.

Construction of a 338-turbine wind farm in Oregon has been put on hold while experts study whether it will interfere with a nearby radar station.

The Federal Aviation Administration, with Air Force backing, issued a notice in March that effectively bars construction. The Defense Department asked the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lincoln Laboratory to investigate.

Renuart wrote that the military routinely works with the FAA to determine whether wind turbines, hotels or other new structures will interfere with defensive radar. He said hazards rarely crop up but when they do, the military suggests modifications.

“We feel strongly that alternate sources are vital to our nation’s future,” Renuart wrote. “I also know that the defense of our homelands is an equally vital responsibility. I honestly believe that both can be achieved together.”

He also raised the issue in testimony before Congress last month.

On the Net:

Renuart’s blog:

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