A long-awaited Department of Defense report has determined that commercial wind farms like the one proposed for Nantucket Sound could affect defense radar installations like the Pave PAWS site on the Upper Cape.
The nine-page report, issued by the DOD’s Missile Defense Agency, states: “Utility class wind farms could have significant impacts on radars, including the missile defense early warning radars.”
The nine-page report examines PAVE PAWS, the phased-array warning system run by the United States Air Force’s 6th Space Squadron. The high-tech radar system scans the skies for intercontinental ballistic missiles as well as monitors space for debris such as dying satellites.
The report also addressed a similar early warning system at Beale Air Force Base in California.
In its executive summary, the Missile Defense Agency recommends creating a 25-kilometer “wind farm offset zone” so that wind farms would not obstruct a radar system’s “line of sight.”
Within that offset zone, the report states, further study would be required to assess the impact, taking into consideration such factors as the radar’s field of view and the relative height of the wind turbine.
Despite the fact that the proposed wind farm would be about two kilometers outside the buffer zone, the Alliance to protect Nantucket Sound, Cape Wind’s primary opponent, issued a statement saying the DOD report “leaves no margin for error.”
By Craig Salters
15 June 2007
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