2013-05-02

A New Line of Attack Against Wind Power: National Security

Will the installation of wind turbines confuse fighter jets? So says the British Ministry of Defense. What does that say about their fighter jets?

Wind power haters have a new excuse: national security. The Telegraph reports that a plan to install wind towers on Cornish farmland could be halted by an objection from the Ministry of Defense.

Officials at the Ministry of Defence say the 115ft towers are so big they could look like planes on monitoring equipment.

The MOD say radar could classify the turbines as a threat – automatically sending in fighter jets to investigate and allowing real enemies to sneak in.

Although the air traffic control radar in question are 30 miles from the proposed wind farm, the complaint suggests the 50-kilowatt towers would nonetheless pose “unacceptable interference” including “the creation of ‘false’ aircraft display.”

The wind power developers aren’t taking this accusation sitting down. The Western Morning News, a local newspaper, reports that Mi-Grid has issued a statement: “The Gorran wind turbines do not cause any risk to MoD operations and we are in consultation with the MoD to ensure that the proposal does not cause any adverse risk to national security.”

National security concerns don’t seem to be impeding the wind power industry in the United States, which had its best year ever in 2012, and was held up as an example in Obama’s State of the Union address this January. "Last year, wind energy added nearly half of all new power capacity in America," Obama said. "So let’s generate even more."

Here, more significant than any national security risk--and more significant than any opposition from NIMBY neighbors and bird lovers--is funding. The “production tax credit” which has spurred wind power over the last several years is set to expire at the end of the year.

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  • antediluvian

    Old news in the US. In 2010, the  US Air Force held up construction of an Oregon wind farm that would be the largest in the country amid concerns that the farm's 300-plus new turbines would interfere with transmissions from a radar station. As a result, all new wind farms in eastern Washington and Oregon were on hold for about 2 years.

    It only released the hold in June 2012 after it determined that a planned upgrade to nearby radar would reduce any problems.