Library filed under Safety from Oklahoma
The Special Aeronautics Commission met about this issue on Sept. 11. A representative from the Attorney General's office was there and they discussed filing civil action to try and stop NextEra from continuing construction of the wind farm. They voted to take action.
NextEra is building more than 160 turbines, and many neighbors say they are do it illegally. “The law is very clear,” said attorney Kim Spady, who represents some neighbors from Hinton.
The actions of a Florida-based energy company are proving to be a test case for a new law intended to protect what many believe is Oklahoma's most valuable military asset -- air space. A News 9 investigation reveals the company, NextEra Energy, is putting up new wind turbines without the needed federal approval, in violation of a recently approved state law.
Renewable energy developer, Innergex, will not be building wind farms near Sheppard Air Force Base ...[wind energy development] continues to be an ongoing issue in Texas and Oklahoma. In fact, Sheppard Air Force Base has already lost three low-level training routes in Oklahoma due to wind turbines.
After information campaigns from the base and Sheppard Military Affairs Committee (SMAC) about how the developments would negatively impact Sheppard’s training routes, the company removing themselves from the permitting process – meaning their interest in the area is essentially over.
Hinton Mayor Shelly Newton is still upset about the planned wind farm construction near her town.
Oklahoma Forestry Services reports that on March 28 a wind turbine two miles south of Weatherford caught fire, throwing sparks to the ground. The sparks caused a grass fire that was contained after growing to approximately five acres. Eight fire engines responded to the scene and were able to contain the fire.
"This legislation goes a long way toward protecting and enhancing our number one asset, which is our airspace," Cooper said. "It wasn't about having no wind power. It was about protecting our airspace." Cooper said the bill was crafted with close cooperation between the military, wind industry and Legislature.
Several residents near Weatherford caught video of a wind turbine on fire on Wednesday afternoon.
Thick, black smoke fills the sky as a turbine burns in Weatherford Oklahoma. The turbine is part of NextEra's Weatherford Wind Energy Center commissioned in 2005. The project consists of 98 GE1.5sle (1.5MW) turbines for a total nameplate capacity of 147 MW.
WOODWARD, Okla. — A wind turbine caught fire Tuesday morning near Woodward, Oklahoma.
Speaking Tuesday, Lt. Gen. Lee Levy, commander of Air Force Sustainment Center, Air Force Materiel Command, Tinker, said wind turbines that rise hundreds of feet into the sky are encroaching on the flight corridors. Some of those turbines now are in the paths of low-flying planes, requiring the Air Force to abandon routes or take other evasive action.
Oklahoma lawmakers are considering a bill that would require new wind farms to get approval from the aeronautics commission, which is pushing for more oversight. Another proposal would require the state's military commission to sign off before new wind farms break ground.
The turbine appears to be part of EDP Renewables' Blue Canyon Wind facility. There were four phases to the project totalling 424 megawatts and located in Caddo, Comanche, and Kiowa Counties. The project uses a combination of Vestas and GE model wind turbines. The news report did not cite the make or model of the burned turbine. The initial turbines (phase 1) were placed in service in 2003.
The problem, Cooper said, is the DoD’s Siting Clearinghouse is largely ineffective. “The clearing house has only stopped one development,” he said. The Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission agrees ...“Unfortunately the way ahead with respect to protecting Oklahoma’s military training airspace has been temporarily put on hold,” said Victor Bird, OAC director. “The wind energy industry rallied and, frankly, was just simply able to outman us at the Capitol.”
We would encourage NextEra to release its finding when they determine what happened that caused the turbine blade to break. We realize they are a private company, but this is a big project that people see every day. We think the public deserves to know what the problems are.
Here’s another problem with wind farms. They are too tall. They are so tall, in fact, that they interfere with military aviation training with bases in Oklahoma.
"The turbine sits in the cornfield, but the blade broke off and flew about 100 yards north of the turbine ," recalls Carpenter. "It flattened the corn, destroyed it." Since the May 31 incident, the turbine's blade has been replaced by General Electric and it has resumed to normal operations.
The Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission head says wind farms in western Oklahoma are having a negative impact on military flight training.