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Radar may hamper wind

SIOUX FALLS (AP) — Developers and officials hope that three wind farm projects in the works for South Dakota will go forward despite military officials’ concerns that turbines might interfere with radar.

Bob Sahr, chairman of the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, said the discussion leaves two projects in Brookings County and a third near Java in limbo.

“With a wind farm, if they have a short supply of wind turbines, if one gets delayed, they’re going to say, ‘Well, we’ve got this wind farm in Texas, let’s send them down there,”’ Sahr said.

Military officials want to know whether the turbines send false signals that are picked up by radar. The Federal Aviation Administration is looking into the Defense Department’s concerns.

But developers have only until the end of 2007 to take advantage of tax credits for their projects.

Navitas Energy is planing a 200-megawatt wind farm east of Brookings.

Paul Eberth, the senior project developer, said Navitas sent hypothetical sites to the FAA and received a determination of “no hazard” before submitting plans for actual sites this spring.

“We haven’t heard anything negative,” Eberth said. “We don’t expect any radar or aviation issues.”

Oregon-based PPM Energy is planning the MinnDakota farm east of the Navitas farm. It would supply 150 megawatts to Xcel Energy and the farm would extend across the state line into Minnesota.

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Bob Sahr, chairman of the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, said the discussion leaves two projects in Brookings County and a third near Java in limbo.
 
“With a wind farm, if they have a short supply of wind turbines, if one gets delayed, they’re going to say, ‘Well, we’ve got this wind farm in Texas, let’s send them down there,”’ Sahr said.
 
Military officials want to know whether the turbines send false signals that are picked up by radar. The Federal Aviation Administration is looking into the Defense Department’s concerns.
 
But developers have only until the end of 2007 to take advantage of tax credits for their projects.
 
Navitas Energy is planing a 200-megawatt wind farm east of Brookings.
 
Paul Eberth, the senior project developer, said Navitas sent hypothetical sites to the FAA and received a determination of “no hazard” before submitting plans for actual sites this spring.
 
“We haven’t heard anything negative,” Eberth said. “We don’t expect any radar or aviation issues.”
 
Oregon-based PPM Energy is planning the MinnDakota farm east of the Navitas farm. It would supply 150 megawatts to Xcel Energy and the farm would extend across the state line into Minnesota.
 
“We are working with the FAA and still plan to move ahead and build in 2007,” Jan Johnson, the company’s communications director, said.
 
South Dakota’s congressional delegation has sent a joint letter to FAA administrator Marion Blakey asking for a quick resolution to the issue.
 
“The Department of Defense doesn’t want to release where these radar sites are,” said Julianne Fisher, communications director for Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D. “But it’s a Catch-22 when people can’t pick a site for a wind farm effectively because they don’t know where the radar site is.”


Source: http://www.rapidcityjournal...

JUL 17 2006
http://www.windaction.org/posts/3543-radar-may-hamper-wind
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