Pentagon Claims Wind Turbines Deflect Defense Radar

The Pentagon is threatening to block a project in eastern Oregon planned as the world’s largest wind farm, claiming that the giant turbines could interfere with an Air Force radar system, according to a report in today’s Washington Post.

Caithness Energy had planned to break ground two weeks from now on the 845-megawatt, $2 billion Shepherds Flat wind farm near Arlington, OR. But last month, Pentagon officials moved to deny the developer its final Federal Aviation Administration permit.

The move has sparked an intense lobbying battle and threatened 16,000 new jobs. The Pentagon’s objections could put at risk three other major wind projects in the same region, along with proposed farms in states from Illinois to Texas. Sen. Ron Wyden told the Post the dispute “is not about one project. It’s about the future of renewable, domestic, clean power.”

The standoff centers on whether the blades of the Shepherds Flat project’s 338 turbines would interfere with a radar system in Fossil, OR because radar signals reflect off the blades when they’re in certain positions.

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