Energy

Will Trump Save This Critical Military Radar From Wind Turbines?

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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter
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An Obama administration-approved wind power farm could render a critical military radar in North Carolina useless — unless President Donald Trump acts fast.

The U.S. military initially opposed the Amazon Wind Farm U.S. East. Top officials, including former Marine Gen. John Kelly, who now serves as Trump’s homeland security secretary, argued it would hurt a key military radar systems.

Kelly has told Congress the wind farm “could and likely will adversely impact our Rothr systems” and that the military had “little confidence we will succeed” in offsetting the wind farm’s impacts.

The Amazon wind farm is near one of two Relocatable Over-the-Horizon Radar, or Rothr sites, which the military uses to tack aircraft and ships across the Atlantic Ocean. Studies by the Navy and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have found the nearby wind farm will likely interfere Rothr functions.

In 2011, the Spanish wind power company Iberdrola applied to build roughly 100 wind turbines close to the ROTHR site. If completed, this would be the first utility-scale wind farm in North Carolina and one of the first in the southeastern U.S., but is only being built due to green energy mandates. The wind farm will only generate 10 permanent jobs when it is in full operation.

The military opposed the project for three years, until Kelly was overruled in late 2014 when the Pentagon approved it saying that “it is an objective of the DoD to ensure that the robust development of renewable energy resources . . . may move forward in the United States.” The Navy claims it changed positions due to new research showing that the wind farm won’t interfere with the ROTHR site, but has declined to release the study to justify the flip.

North Carolinian lawmakers who oppose the wind farm sent a letter to Kelly earlier this month asking him to intervene to stop the turbines from becoming operational.

Kelly and much of the military’s objections to the wind farm may have been ignored as part of Obama’s general push to “green” the armed forces. Obama pushed the military into several other green schemes which compromised readiness.

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