Wind turbines threaten Navy radar

Clean energy welfare vs. national defense…. hmmm, tough call.

The Baltimore Sun reports,

In the 400-foot-plus turbines that a wind energy company wants to build on his tree farm on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Hall Coons sees a chance at a steady stream of income — and an opportunity to untether his economic fortunes from the ups and downs of the lumber market.

But to the radar system at the Navy base across the Chesapeake Bay, the spinning blades of the towering pylons would look like aircraft — and interfere with the test range where the Navy studies how its planes appear to enemy radar, military officials say.

Plans to harness the winds that blow across the Eastern Shore for cheap, clean, renewable energy are arousing concern at Naval Air Station Patuxent River. And while the Defense Department does not have the authority to stop a project that interferes with the Navy’s tests, officials say the Pentagon could use its considerable influence to discourage or scale back wind farm development.

“We really don’t want to get to that point,” says Christopher Jarboe, who works to protect the test ranges at the base in Southern Maryland from encroaching development. “That’s why we’re trying to get the word out on our systems and what the impacts are”…

But they say turbines tall enough to be seen by the ground-based radar — as the towers that Pioneer Green Energy wants to build on Coons’ tree farm would be — would disrupt testing in the restricted airspace that extends from Southern Maryland across the bay to the Eastern Shore and into Delaware and Virginia.

The turbines, they say, would introduce electromagnetic clutter in an otherwise clean environment.

The 3,000-square-mile test range is unique in the Navy — the only operation in the service capable of measuring the radar profiles of aircraft in flight…

Read the Baltimore Sun article.

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