Wind Power Faces New, Tough Opponent in US Military

Wind energy has faced some opposition, mostly against people who are afraid their oceanfront views will be obscured by windmills seven miles offshore, but now it has a pretty tough opponent in the U.S. military.

This article from says the military is raising concerns about wind farms disrupting military radar arrays:

The primary military concern about wind farm development stems from the fact that in order to maintain adequate efficiency wind farms must operate at least 80 to 100 feed in the air, with the higher the placement the more efficient the turbines can operate due to the “cleaner” wind streams. RADAR detection, however, generally begins at roughly 50 feet, thus any wind turbines present would potentially block any RADAR signals by bouncing back signal waves with their blades and create an effective “dead zone” on the opposite side of the turbine from the RADAR emitter.

Experts say the issue could, at best, delay some projects or, at worst, cancel individual wind turbines … and even bring about a whole new set of regulations.

0 responses to “Wind Power Faces New, Tough Opponent in US Military”

  1. 10 years ago I was one of big wind’s strongest supporters. That was before I learned how much havoc big wind plays on the grid — like sabotage, except worse. If a grid manager never knows when power output from wind will dramatically rise or drop (by the cube of wind velocity) he can’t really react in time to maintain voltages within strict narrow limits.

    Wind comes and goes without warning, but power must be supplied 24/7. That means expensive, high carbon backups are required with every wind installation.

    Wind turbine gearboxes and bearings break down every few years at a cost of millions each. Turbine blades break off and crash through anything in their way.

    The noise from huge high wind turbines makes the surrounding countryside unlivable (even if you were willing to risk the flying blades!)

    Big wind projects are being built in the US for tax breaks and other big government cash payments. Many of them will never generate enough power to do anything other than disrupt power management, if that.

    10 years ago I was a wind energy enthusiast. Since then I have seen a lot of evidence against big wind farms. When I am shown that I am wrong, I change my mind. What do you do?

  2. 1. Each windmill is very small in relation to the total wind farm so the failure of one unit wouldn’t cause any problems.

    2. Wind farms are located in areas with very predictable winds so as to minimize “dramatic” changes.

    3. All forms of generation are subject to failure so require “backup”. This is called spinning reserve.

    4. Commercial size wind farms are located on high ridges, in offshore waters, and in other locations where throwing a blade would be very unlikely to hit anything.

    5. The noise problem is one of perception. I am 90% deaf from 40 years of working in powerhouses and other plants and I doubt that the windmills are as noisy as these areas.

    6. Tax breaks? Everyone wants tax breaks. The worst tax is the dollars and lives that it costs to keep using foreign oil.