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Military threat to Maryland offshore wind development

CIER Researchers said the offshore wind farm would be unlikely to cause problems at other mid-Atlantic radar stations, but would pose an issue for US military operations on air or sea by Maryland's coastline. However, they concluded that with sufficient information regarding these activities, "it may be possible to abate conflict".

A radar station used by the military and civilian aircraft poses a key barrier to a potential billion-dollar offshore wind farm off the Maryland coast, according to new research.

A study from the University of Maryland Center for Integrative Environmental Research (CIER) confirms that a large offshore wind farm of Maryland's Atlantic shore would impact NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

The radar station is used by the Federal Aviation Administration, NASA itself and the United States Navy.

CIER Researchers said the offshore wind farm would be unlikely to cause problems at other mid-Atlantic radar stations, but would pose an issue for US military operations on air or sea by Maryland's coastline.

However, they concluded that with sufficient information regarding these activities, "it may be possible to abate conflict".

CIER researcher Sean Williamson said: "It's a huge hurdle, but this does not have to be a make-or-break issue. Collaboration with the U.S. military and other users could reconcile any conflicts - if the parties are willing to compromise."

Interest

The CIER research was commissioned by the Maryland Energy Administration... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

A radar station used by the military and civilian aircraft poses a key barrier to a potential billion-dollar offshore wind farm off the Maryland coast, according to new research.

A study from the University of Maryland Center for Integrative Environmental Research (CIER) confirms that a large offshore wind farm of Maryland's Atlantic shore would impact NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

The radar station is used by the Federal Aviation Administration, NASA itself and the United States Navy.

CIER Researchers said the offshore wind farm would be unlikely to cause problems at other mid-Atlantic radar stations, but would pose an issue for US military operations on air or sea by Maryland's coastline.

However, they concluded that with sufficient information regarding these activities, "it may be possible to abate conflict".

CIER researcher Sean Williamson said: "It's a huge hurdle, but this does not have to be a make-or-break issue. Collaboration with the U.S. military and other users could reconcile any conflicts - if the parties are willing to compromise."

Interest

The CIER research was commissioned by the Maryland Energy Administration following last spring's declaration by state officials that there was interest in developing offshore wind turbines in federal waters off the Maryland coast.

The report examines the possibility of a 600-megawatt offshore wind farm in relatively shallow waters, or a 1,000MW wind farm further out to sea in deep water.

Assessing the costs, researchers suggested there wouldn't be a lot of difference between the two options, both coming in the region of $1,850 per kilowatt, with the extra power generation capacity of the larger deep-water installation offsetting the increased infrastructure costs.

The study found that exporting power ashore from a Maryland offshore wind farm could be most cost effective by going through Delaware, since transmission systems on the Delmarva Peninsular are more developed in Delaware. Estimated costs were put at $20 million for connecting to the grid at Bethany Beach, Delaware, compared to $200 million at Ocean City, Maryland.

It's economically feasible and environmentally advantageous, but will require some tough trade-offs" - Professor Matthias Ruth, University of Maryland
The Google-funded offshore grid transmission project, announced after the CIER research was completed, may provide more cost-effective options for exporting power from a Maryland offshore wind farm.

"Known and proven"

Overall, the study suggests "known and proven" offshore wind technology would provide a "cost effective" and "low risk" option to achieve Maryland's Renewable Portfolio Standard target to source 20% of the state's retail electricity sales from renewable sources by 2022.

But, the researchers said key to success will be collaboration between states, the federal government and institutions like the military, NASA and the FAA.

"Offshore wind is not a slam dunk for Maryland, but the potential remains very strong," said principal investigator Matthias Ruth, a University of Maryland public policy professor and CIER director.

"It's economically feasible and environmentally advantageous, but will require some tough trade-offs, compromise and collaboration between public and private sectors."


Source: http://www.brighterenergy.o...

OCT 27 2010
https://www.windaction.org/posts/28577-military-threat-to-maryland-offshore-wind-development
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