The battle over windmills off the coast of Cape Cod yesterday entered the realm of national defense, early-warning radar systems and intercontinental ballistic missiles striking the United States.
The Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound says a new Department of Defense report proves the giant 130-turbine windfarm proposal could conceivably disrupt U.S. Air Force radar systems on Cape Cod and thus Cape Wind Associates’ windmills would be “too close for comfort” for the military.
But a spokesman for the Missile Defense Agency, which authored the report, said the study clearly shows Cape Wind’s proposed off-shore turbines would be outside a proposed 25-kilometer exclusion zone.
“It’s really not considered a problem,” said Rick Lehner, the spokesman for the Missile Defense Agency, referring to the windmill plan. He noted that the Cape Cod “Pave Paws” radar system isn’t yet part of the futuristic missile defense shield envisioned one day for the nation.
Cape Wind shot back yesterday that opponents of its plan were engaging in blatant “fear mongering.”
Mark Rodgers, a Cape Wind spokesman, said past military studies have also confirmed the proposed windfarm wouldn’t impact advanced radar systems at the Air Force’s base within the Massachusetts Military Reservation.
The Missile Defense Agency report did say wind turbines could have a “significant impact” on radar performance.
But it said the Cape Wind plan was just outside the 25-kilometer zone it needs for a missile-defense system.
By Jay Fitzgerald
Boston Herald General Economics Reporter
16 June 2007
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