Huge wind power plants in the U.S. given the go-ahead by military officials

According to a story in The Oregonian, officials at the Pentagon determined the risk that the proposed wind farms in Oregon and Washington state would negatively impact operations at an Air Defence Radar Station near Fossil was “manageable.”

Published last Friday, the story said the decision gives “the national security green light” to the eight wind farm projects with 1,128 wind turbines.

As in Europe, proposed wind farms in the U.S. have had to deal with military concerns that the rotating blades of wind turbines could cause interference at military radar stations and possibly endanger Air Force pilots. The Pentagon’s recent decision appears to signal that the U.S. defence department now understands that pursuing a national clean energy objective that includes developing wind power need not interfere with military needs.

“Radar settings at the Fossil surveillance station, opened in 1958, were tweaked in September to reduce interference,” said the story in The Oregonian, the largest newspaper in the state. It added that Dorothy Robyn, deputy undersecretary of defense for installations and environment, explained that the station will also be the military’s key test site for technological upgrades designed to address interference problems that have threatened to stall wind energy projects nationwide.

The story also said that the military had received assurances that various technological fixes were available. It noted Robyn said that upgrades will be tested at the Fossil station — which was built in the Cold War and is located in north-central Oregon — including an ‘adaptive clutter map’ to better edit out false targets.

Robyn said the Pentagon will now try and raise concerns earlier in the wind farm application process, according to the story, which added military officials are also talking with the wind industry about sharing the costs of improving, augmenting or replacing radar stations to reduce interference issues.

In April — according to a report in — the UK government pledged €4.5 million to a partnership to fund a new radar system for the Greater Wash to address wind turbine interference.

The partnership between the Department of Energy and Climate Change, the Ministry of Defence, the Crown Estate and four wind farm developers will allow the construction of 3.2 GW of offshore wind power in the Greater Wash, the report said, adding it could also enable a further 4-6 GW in the Norfolk offshore wind power zone.

By Chris Rose,