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The U.S. military is growing increasingly concerned that proposed wind farms can disrupt or block radar designed to detect threats and protect America's skies, a problem that is stalling the alternative energy projects around the country. Discuss COMMENTS (0) A top U.S. general told Congress on Thursday that federal agencies need to work better together on a formal vetting process for the wind projects to prevent them from being built where they will interfere with radar defenses.
While the radar interference issue is not new, it has become a bigger problem as more wind projects move through the permit process. Industry leaders and the Energy Department have said that wind power could provide as much as 20 percent of the nation's electricity by 2030.
Renuart said the North American Aerospace Defense Command, which he also heads, is putting together a radar obstruction evaluation team to determine the impacts of proposed wind energy projects in close proximity to our radars. The Pentagon released a report in 2006 detailing the concerns with the wind farms, and said the Defense Department is developing other ways to deal with the problem, including technology improvements to the radar systems.
The Ministry of Defence has expressed concerns that some wind farms interfere with military radar, making aircraft flying over the turbines "invisible". But it denies opposing every planning application for new wind farm sites, saying there are many factors involved. Government energy officials say they are working with the MoD to resolve problems over the issue. It follows the government's announcement of plans to increase the number of homes powered by wind farms. Tests in 2004 and 2005 showed that wind turbines create a "hole" in radar coverage. The shadow of the blades is magnified considerably, and the movement of the propellers is visible on radar screens.