Military Concerns Threaten World’s Biggest Wind Farm Project

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The U.S. Air Force is threatening to halt construction of a 845-megawatt wind farm in eastern Oregon that would be the world’s largest wind project, citing concerns that the wind turbines would interfere with a nearby military radar station.

Clean energy advocates are concerned that the confrontation could jeopardize other major wind projects in the region and elsewhere in the U.S., threatening 16,000 jobs and undermining President Obama’s push to develop renewable sources of energy.

Concerned that the blades of the 338 massive wind turbines might interfere with radar signals when positioned at certain angles, the Department of Defense moved to reject a Federal Aviation Administration permit.

Construction of the $2 billion project — which the Pentagon called “a hazard to air navigation” — is scheduled to begin in two weeks. Developers say that significant delays will likely kill the project because it will lose eligibility for federal stimulus dollars if construction does not begin soon.

Obama administration officials and wind energy lobbyists are now working to resolve the Pentagon’s concerns and clear the way for the Oregon project.

Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.

photo: John “K”

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Yale Environment 360 is an online magazine offering opinion, analysis, reporting and debate on global environmental issues. We feature original articles by scientists, journalists, environmentalists, academics, policy makers, and business people, as well as multimedia content and a daily digest of major environmental news. Yale Environment 360 is published by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and Yale University. We are funded in part by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The opinions and views expressed in Yale Environment 360 are those of the authors and not of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies or of Yale University.

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