The Military Is Locked in a Power Struggle With Wind Farms

WIRED | 5/28/2019 | Eric Niiler
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When Lt. Col. Joseph Goana takes off in his T-38 Talon training jet, he flies a loop north toward the Red River, which forms a meandering border between north Texas and southern Oklahoma. For decades, the remote farming area has been an ideal training ground for Air Force pilots like Goana. But in recent years, he says there’s been a new obstacle: wind turbines that now generate a third of Oklahoma’s electricity and 17 percent of the power in Texas.

"We need the space above the ground unimpeded so we can fly low to the ground," says Goana, commander of the 80th Training Wing at Sheppard Air Force Base. "Sort of like drivers’ ed."

Year - Leaders - Sheppard - State - Officials

A year ago, military leaders at Sheppard joined state officials to beat back a proposed wind farm in nearby Oklahoma. But base officials now worry about more proposed wind farms that keep cropping up. They say they have been forced to close three of 12 low-flying training routes in the past decade because of “wind farm encroachment.”

“One or two is ok, we will move over,” Goana says about shifting Sheppard's training routes, which also have to avoid cell towers and radio masts. “But now it’s almost completely clogged.”

Disputes - Officials - Farm - Developers - North

Similar disputes between some military officials and wind farm developers are underway in North Carolina, Tennessee, and upstate New York. In California, the Navy wants to declare the Pacific Ocean from Big Sur to the Mexican border off-limits to proposed offshore wind farms because they would conflict with "the requirements of Navy and Marine Corps missions conducted in the air, on the surface, and below the surface of these waters."

Given that White House is AWOL when it comes to promoting most sources of renewable energy, the big battles over wind energy's future are happening in statehouses across the country. It's a...
(Excerpt) Read more at: WIRED
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