April 9, 2018
Editorials, North Carolina

Editorial: Degrading national security

Carteret County News-Times | April 7, 2018 | www.carolinacoastonline.com

The Amazon Wind project is raising national security concerns again.

We say “again” because along with John Droz, a Morehead City resident, physicist and environmental advocate, we predicted this in August 2015.

Noting that the state’s only large scale wind project – 104 turbines 500 feet high on 20,000 acres in Pasquotank and Perquimans counties —has generated just 75% of its expected power, Don Carrington, editor of Carolina Journal, says, “Military officials also remain uneasy about the project’s interference with a sophisticated radar facility that provides crucial intelligence for the United States.”

An acronym for “Relocatable Over-the-Horizon-Radar,” the U.S. Navy’s ROTHR facility – one of only two in the United States, the other is in Texas – is on a base near Hampton Roads, Va., bordering North Carolina’s Currituck County.

A key part of America’s homeland security, the facility monitors two million square miles encompassing not only the United States but also the Caribbean to South America. It scrutinizes aircraft and ships suspected of transporting illegal drugs and other banned substances into the United States, provides climate change data and tracks terrorist activity, actions of unfriendly nations and hurricanes.

In 2011, Avangrid Renewables Inc., a subsidiary of Iberdrola S.A., a Spanish company, applied to erect the turbines, and the politically correct Obama administration gave it a green light.

Informed by MIT and other government studies in 2012 that windmill projects within 28 miles of a ROTHR receiver would seriously hamper operational performance – the U.S. Navy’s ROTHR facility is only 14 miles away – the Department of Defense opposed the project.

On Feb. 26, 2014, then Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly (now White House chief of staff) expressed grave concern to the U.S. Senate and House Armed Services Committees about the interference industrial wind turbines would have on the ROTHR system, saying it would degrade and adversely affect the U.S. Southern Command’s operational performance. He said while the Pentagon was working with “developers and stakeholders to develop potential mitigation solutions,” he had “little confidence we will succeed.”

Because so-called “renewable energy” was a politically favored energy option, a darling of climate alarmists in the Obama administration superseding national security, the Obama administration reversed the Department of Defense in October and ordered the Navy to sign an agreement, which it did Oct. 23, 2014.

Agreeing in 2015 to buy the generated power for data centers near Dulles International Airport, outside Washington, D.C., online retailer Amazon assumed naming rights of the facility. Both it and Avangrid continue to hide renewable generation figures.

Tracking the project’s output using U.S. Energy Information Administration data, Mr. Carrington said April 2017 and January 2018 were the only two months it produced more than the 1,836 MHW/day needed to satisfy Amazon’s requirement. “Intermittent energy from wind generation can’t match the actual demand of the data centers,” he said.

The Navy has commissioned a study on the interference which will be released this spring, says Katisha Draughn-Fraguada, a public affairs officer for Naval Support Activity Hampton Roads. Under the agreement, the Navy doesn’t have the option to terminate the project or force Avangrid to reduce its operations. Or, says Mr. Carrington, to undertake any measures that it, by its sole discretion, “deems infeasible for any reason or no reason.”

In 2017, North Carolina legislative leaders asked the Trump administration to consider closing the project because of its impediment to military activities or require Avangrid to shut down the turbines whenever they degrade the ROTHR signal by more than 5%.

Interfering with military operations may be its Achilles’ heel, says Mr. Carrington, meaning no more large scale wind projects.

Currituck County Commissioner Paul Beaumont, a former U.S. Navy pilot, said ROTHR personnel made it clear to him that the wind facility has degraded signal reception, to the point that the ROTHR has trouble detecting and identifying targets of interest, including fast moving and semi-submersible watercraft.

“In the name of national security, I want wind farms to be removed as a permitted use in Currituck County,” he said, adding he’ll ask fellow commissioners to support the change.

“The Obama administration used the military as a spear for its green agenda,” said a Jan. 22, 2017, Wall Street Journal editorial. “But evidence is growing that these demands (biofuels, electric military vehicles) have come at a cost to military readiness. Mr. Kelly and Secretary of Defense James Mattis can reassure the military and the public by focusing defense back on national security and away from climate-change indulgences.”

Because the military does not want to broadcast to our enemies how easily they can undermine our national security via wind energy, it’s probable that we will never hear the entire story about how severe the wind energy impact is on the Amazon project. Not to be subversive, but was the Amazon project specifically placed where it is to deteriorate our national defense?

URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2018/04/09/editorial-degrading-national-security/