The Natural Resources Defense Council released mapping software today to help renewable energy developers identify potential conflicts between proposed sites for wind farms and military and weather radar, as well as low-altitude military training flights.
The council has created similar mapping tools to identify potential conflicts between energy projects and environmentally sensitive areas.
It worked with the Defense Department to help develop the new version, which layers in several data sets to show developers whether their turbines are in the line of sight of military and weather radar, or would conflict with military or civil airport flight routes. The software is provided free by the council.
The tool could prove useful for developers in Oregon.
The development of Shepherds Flat, a wind farm under construction in eastern Oregon, was temporarily halted by Defense Department concerns that its 338 wind turbines would distort signals to a radar installation in Fossil. Those concerns were ultimately resolved.
But the nearby Saddle Butte Wind Park, a 171-turbine project being developed by the same company, New York-based Caithness Energy, has been red-flagged for further study by the Defense Department.
Natural Resources Defense Council scientist Matthew McKinzie said the mapping tool should make siting more efficient by identifying potential problems early and giving developers a chance to tailor their project layouts to avoid conflicts.
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