Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., says outdated Air Force radar is preventing the installation of 4 GW of installed capacity from producing electricity in eastern Oregon and Washington.
According to the East Oregonian newspaper, Wyden requests that officials at the Pentagon and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) replace the equipment with technology that can overcome interference.
In a May 21 letter, Wyden explained that wind developers consistently run into problems with the radar in Fossil, Ore., and therefore, local wind energy is prevented.
The long-range surveillance radar is jointly managed by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and Homeland Security, and it is also used by the FAA for air-traffic control.
Historically, government agencies, such as the DOD, have had an uneasy relationship with wind turbines since the earliest California machines were installed in the 1980s. In 2011, the DOD had serious concerns with the massive Shepherds Flat wind project in Oregon and the Pentagon asked that more studies be conducted before the construction of the wind farm was allowed to continue.
Critics say that the operating wind turbines can be indistinguishable from airplanes on many radar systems and can cause blackout zones in which planes disappear from radar entirely.