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View Diary: Obama Administration announces first offshore wind farm project (198 comments)

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  •  Actually, the radar issue is a serious one. (1+ / 0-)
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    AllisonInSeattle

    I've done radar remote sensing, and I know a fair amount about the challenges of accurate interpretation of radar data.  It's not like vision, where you can just peer around an obstruction, it's more like hearing, where the sound you are looking for gets lost in the noise or gets distorted through interference.  And it's not just a single wind turbine; these wind farms can have 100 or more turbines, spread out across a pretty broad area.  The moving blades of the turbines create radar anomalies and noise to the point where the ability to see things like fast-moving planes is compromised.  In essence, a wind farm effectively blocks the use of radar to see planes traveling at low altitude anywhere in the wedge-shaped area formed by lines radiating out from the radar instrument past the two ends of the wind farm to the horizon.

    An important element of the missions of a couple of the bases in NC is flight training at low elevations.  The airspace that can be used for that is already very limited.  The other issue is that two of the biggest military bases in the country, Camp Lejeune (Marines) and Fort Bragg (Army) are in eastern NC, and are considered to be high-level targets.  The 'hole' in the radar view obscures things at an altitude that would permit a plane to get very close to those bases before it was spotted.

    It's a very real problem, one that can't casually be ignored.  There is still room for debate about the issue, which is why I refer to it as a good example of the trade-offs that have to be considered in order to make progress towards good outcomes with a minimum of unintended negative consequences.

    I can't stand what's happened to my state's legislature in the past couple of elections, and I don't trust anything coming out of the General Assembly, but they don't have anything to do with it at this point.

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