Chesapeake wind energy plans pose challenge to Navy’s radar testing - Stripes
In the 400-foot-plus turbines that a wind energy company wants to build on his tree farm on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Hall Coons sees a chance at a steady stream of income — and an opportunity to untether his economic fortunes from the ups and downs of the lumber market.
But to the radar system at the Navy base across the Chesapeake Bay, the spinning blades of the towering pylons would look like aircraft — and interfere with the test range where the Navy studies how its planes appear to enemy radar, military officials say.
Plans to harness the winds that blow across the Eastern Shore for cheap, clean, renewable energy are arousing concern at Naval Air Station Patuxent River. And while the Defense Department does not have the authority to stop a project that interferes with the Navy’s tests, officials say the Pentagon could use its considerable influence to discourage or scale back wind farm development.
“We really don’t want to get to that point,” says Christopher Jarboe, who works to protect the test ranges at the base in Southern Maryland from encroaching development. “That’s why we’re trying to get the word out on our systems and what the impacts are.”
Two firms have filed paperwork to build wind farms in Somerset County, with scores of turbines reaching hundreds of feet into the sky to capture the currents that flow in from the bay. They are talking with dozens of farmers about leasing their land — and sharing the revenues from the power they generate.