A Department of Defense study found that industrial wind farms could hamper military readiness, according to a top U.S. Navy official.
The Daily Caller News Foundation has obtained a letter sent last month from Deputy Assistant Secretary James Balocki to Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn, which outlined the results of the study. The report has not been publicly released, but Balocki summarized its conclusions.
“The general conclusion of the study confirmed that primary radar detection may be significantly degraded in airspace immediately above wind farms and in some cases beyond the wind farm,” Balocki wrote. “When flying in such areas of degraded primary radar coverage, there is increased risk to Navy pilots from civilian aircraft operating without active transponders.”
Wind turbine’s interference with radar can actually be dangerous to military aviators, according to the letter.
The letter stated that the Navy and wind turbine developers can’t agree on a way to mitigate the interference of wind turbines, the service branch would recommend the Secretary of Defense object to future industrial wind turbine development near bases.
“Determining when the overall impact of wind turbine development has reached the ‘tipping point,’ and determining when further operational mitigations by the Department of Defense represent an unacceptable risk to national security, presents a complex and difficult issue,” Balocki said.
The U.S. military first alleged that turbines interfere with military radar in its opposition to the Amazon Wind Farm U.S. East in North Carolina.
Top military officials, including Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, argued it would hurt the critical military radar systems. The military opposed the project for three years until Kelly was overruled in late 2014 when the Pentagon approved it saying, “it is an objective of the DoD to ensure that the robust development of renewable energy resources … may move forward in the United States.”
Kelly and much of the military’s objections to the wind farm may have been ignored as part of former President Barack Obama’s general push to “green” the armed forces. Former President Barack Obama pushed the military into several other green schemes, which compromised readiness.
The Amazon wind farm is near one of two Relocatable Over-the-Horizon Radar, or Rothr sites, which the military uses to track aircraft and ships across the Atlantic Ocean. Studies by the Navy and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have found the nearby wind farm will likely interfere Rothr functions.
The military’s concerns prompted the North Carolina Senate and General Assembly to pass a two-year ban on the wind turbines late last month.
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