N.C. Republicans target wind farms that would impact military sites

by WorldTribune Staff, March 26, 2017

A group of North Carolina Republican lawmakers is seeking a 3-year moratorium on the construction of wind farms that they say pose potential safety risks to the state’s military installations.

NC Senate Majority Leader Harry Brown and other lawmakers said that unchecked wind farm development could interfere with radar reception and military flight paths. North Carolina has the third-highest military population in the U.S.

Amazon Wind Farm in North Carolina

Republicans have introduced the Military Operations Protection Act of 2017 that could derail the proposed Timbermill Wind Farm in Chowan and Perquimans counties, The News & Observer reported on March 24.

“At the end of the day, this bill isn’t about the merits or lack thereof in subsidizing wind energy,” the lawmakers said. “It is about our responsibility to protect the investment the U.S. military has made in our state and honor our commitment to being the most military-friendly state in the country.”

The Timermill project would construct 105 wind turbines with each turbine extending 600 feet into the sky.

Virginia-based Apex Clean Energy “is expected to start applying for state permits to build the energy project as soon as the company resolves a Perquimans County permit denial, which is currently under appeal and pending in court,” the News & Observer report said.

Wind farms require clearance from the Department of Defense, through the Clearinghouse review, and from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Military officials have expressed concerns about radar interference from some of the Amazon wind turbines.

“The Department of Defense Siting Clearinghouse has reviewed over 2,000 wind projects nationwide,” Don Giecek, Apex’s Senior Development Manager, said in an emailed statement. “No project opposed by the military has been built since the Clearinghouse was created.”

Earlier this year, the state senators who are proposing the moratorium on wind farms, along with NC House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate Speaker Phil Berger and other lawmakers, asked the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to shut down the Amazon Wind Farm in Perquimans and Pasquotank Counties.

“They said the U.S. should compensate the developer for its costs, but not for lost future profits,” the News & Observer report said.

The Amazon Wind Farm developer was called Iberdrola at the time the project was proposed, but the Spain-based company has subsequently been renamed Avangrid.

“Shut down the project permanently,” the senators wrote. “This would be done due to its imminent, highly likely, unacceptable threat to our national security.”

“No tears need to be shed for Iberdrola, which is the antithesis of the Make America Great program,” they wrote. “For example, this foreign company holds the national record for amounts of money extracted from the U.S. economy and sent abroad.”

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