AWEA Addresses DOD’s Study on Wind and Radar

Some wind turbines can affect radar systems, but thousands of wind turbines generating electricity nationwide demonstrate that impacts can be, and have been, mitigated through measures such as relocating turbines or upgrading radar systems. The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) advocates exploring additional technical options that can either be used today or developed in the future to address this issue.

In the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) statement on the September 27 Report by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) on the Effect of Wind Farms on Military Radar, Randall Swisher, AWEA executive director, said: “The U.S. wind energy industry is disappointed that, in spite of the U.S. Department of Defense’s recognition of the importance of wind energy development for the country and in spite of specific instructions by Congress, the report remains incomplete and only cursorily mentions existing and emerging ways to mitigate wind turbine radar interactions.” “Decades of experience tell us that wind and radar can coexist,” said Swisher. “The American wind energy industry will continue to work collaboratively with government and others on efforts to constructively address challenges and refine solutions. We need to further develop clean, renewable energy sources like wind to reduce dependence on imports and increase our energy security.” In the meantime, some projects recently held up by radar concerns are moving ahead. AWEA welcomes Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approvals for a number of projects in the Midwest. The FAA recently approved 614 applications for individual wind turbines that total more than 1,000 megawatts (MW) of new wind power across Minnesota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Illinois. “Approval of these projects means more jobs and economic development in the Midwest and additional clean, renewable wind power added to the electric utility system in a part of the country that really needs it,” said Swisher. “The wind power industry continues to support efforts to address issues of concern such as radar interactions with military and civilian radar and land-use policies. We are strongly encouraged by the FAA’s actions to address these concerns and move forward with approvals of these important projects.” The DOD study, “Effect of Wind Farms on Military Radar” was requested in the National Defense Authorization Act passed by Congress late last year. When directing DOD to conduct the study, Congress specifically requested that DOD include an examination of mitigation studies. 36 Members of the House of Representatives led by Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Ralph Hall (R-TX) echoed these instructions in a recent letter to President Bush and White House Council on Environmental Quality Director James Connaughton. AWEA applauds this focus on solutions as well as potential problems. Without the whole story, the report lacks this important perspective.

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