Defense Objection Raised
On October 30, 2014, the Deputy Secretary of Defense notified the Secretary of Transportation of the Department’s objection to the Great Bay Wind Energy Center (GBWEC) project proposed by Pioneer Green Energy (applicant) to be located in Somerset County, Maryland, and in the vicinity of Naval Air Station Patuxent River (NAS Patuxent River) and the Atlantic Test Range (ATR).
The Deputy Secretary of Defense determined that the proposed project, even as it may have been modified by the applicant after mitigation discussions, would constitute an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States1 because it would significantly impair or degrade the capability of the Department of Defense (DoD) to conduct research, development, testing and evaluation (RDT&E) and operations, and to maintain military readiness. This project has an unacceptable impact on the Department’s ability to characterize the survivability of DoD’s advanced airborne weapons systems. Because the applicant unilaterally requested the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issue a determination of no hazard2 before DoD and the applicant could reach a mutually acceptable mitigation agreement, should the project be constructed it would ultimately place our armed forces at greater risk when they go in harm’s way.
Absent effective mitigation, wind turbines constructed within the ADAMS LOS will prevent DoD from performing the ADAMS RDT&E mission conducted at NAS Patuxent River. As a result, DoD would be unable to characterize aircraft survivability, causing increased risk to the Warfighter and constraining operational decision makers due to inadequate knowledge of aircraft signatures. The formal request by the applicant to the FAA for a Determination of No Hazard on August 26, 2014, without mitigating the unacceptable risk, has put the Department in the position of having to formally object to the project.
Thus, after extensive deliberation, the Deputy Secretary of Defense determined, on October 30, 2014, that the proposed GBWEC project, as it may have been modified by the applicant after mitigation discussions, would result in an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States because it would unacceptably impair or degrade the capability of DoD to conduct RDT&E, and to maintain military readiness. Construction of this project in Somerset County, Maryland, would ultimately result in unacceptable risk to national security.