11/06/2011

New piece by Maxim: "Wind Farms Disrupting Radar, Scientists Say"

Even the fix leaves a hole in the military defense radar. No fix is available for weather radar. His latest piece starts off this way:

This one's really off the radar.
Wind farms, along with solar power and other alternative energy sources, are supposed to produce the energy of tomorrow. Evidence indicates that their countless whirring fan blades produce something else: "blank spots" that distort radar readings.
Now government agencies that depend on radar -- such as the Department of Defense and the National Weather Service -- are spending millions in a scramble to preserve their detection capabilities. A four-star Air Force general recently spelled out the problem to Dave Beloite, the director of the Department of Defense’s Energy Siting Clearinghouse.
"Look there’s a radar here -- one of our network of Homeland surveillance radars -- and [if you build this wind farm] you essentially are going to put my eyes out in the Northwestern corner of the United States,” Beloite related during a web conference in April.
Spinning wind turbines make it hard to detect incoming planes. To avoid that problem, military officials have blocked wind farm construction near their radars -- and in some cases later allowed them after politicians protested.
Shepherd’s Flat, a wind farm under construction in Oregon, was initially held up by a government notice that the farm would “seriously impair the ability of the (DoD) to detect, monitor and safely conduct air operations." . . .
Beloite told FoxNews.com that the project was given the green light by the military only after scientists at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory assured the Department of Defense “that there were algorithms and processors they could design for not too much money that would mitigate the problem.”
Beloite said that the MIT technology has proven successful in the last few months.
"[The problem] has been addressed. And I have a letter from the deputy director of operations from U.S. NORAD that says 'step one of the two-step fix worked so well that we recommend we don't spend any more money on step two.'"
The fix the MIT scientists came up with tells the radar not to pay attention to signals in a very small area. . . .

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