Turbine Trouble

We already know many of the serious problems with industrial wind power. It is expensive, heavily subsidized (a hidden tax), unreliable, causes negative health impacts, kills large birds of prey and bats and can be maddening to people who live nearby. What you probably don’t know is that wind turbines can compromise military readiness and our national security when they are sited too close to military installations.

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It’s getting harder and harder to put a happy face on industrial wind. The downsides just keep stacking up. It’s expensive and heavily subsidized by taxpayers. Wind turbines only generate electricity about a quarter of the time so natural gas is actually the primary power provider. They are a menace to large raptors such as eagles and hawks in addition to other birds, killing hundreds of thousands each year as well as about a million bats. Infrasound and shadow flicker are causing negative health impacts and other miseries to people living in rural communities. And here’s one you probably haven’t heard much about. Giant wind turbines can be a problem for our military.

Wow. Talk about collateral damage. The national security issue has been flying under the radar so to speak for many years now. You see, if the turbines are too close to military bases, they create all sorts of problems. There are dangers for jet fighter training, health impacts to military personnel from infrasound and they interfere with critically important weather and radar systems. They can even negatively impact drone operations.

In May of 2019, two industrial wind sites in Oklahoma were scrapped because the wind developer understood it would almost certainly be sued by state military and aeronautics commissions as well as the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Defense Department. Both projects presented a danger to low altitude fighter jet training.

Texas has more industrial wind sites than any other state by far. It also has a law that no wind turbines sited closer than 30 miles from a military base are eligible for tax incentives. Cutting out those incentives was a clever way to eliminate the wind turbine threat by making industrial wind unprofitable near the bases.

Some of the biggest battles between the military and industrial wind are in North Carolina. Legislators there are attempting to pass the Military Base Protection Act which would prohibit wind turbines near certain military installations.

In addition to creating a danger for jet fighter training, wind turbines in northeastern North Carolina could interfere with the Relocatable Over The Horizon Radar system or “ROTHR”. There are only two such radar systems in the nation. In Congressional Testimony, General John Kelly said such a “wind farm could and likely will adversely impact our ROTHR system, the only persistent wide-area surveillance radars capable of tracking illicit aircraft in Latin America and the Caribbean.”

In a letter to then-Governor Beverly Perdue, Colonel Jeannie Leavitt warned that proposed wind projects “…will adversely affect [the] Seymour Johnson [Air Force Base’s] most frequently used low-level training routes, [and] the primary bomb range.” Colonel Leavitt also cautioned that the “windmill structures and rotating blades have a demonstrable negative effect on the F-15E’s main radar and its terrain-following radar system.”

Of course, the industrial wind lobby is attempting to claim their turbines don’t present a problem. But if that was the case, states such as Texas, Oklahoma, and North Carolina would not be passing or attempting to pass laws to protect military operations and readiness.

In the years ahead we’ll all be deciding just how much collateral damage we’re willing to accept for unreliable electricity generation. Degrading our military’s ability to protect America is one line that should not be crossed.

For the Clear Energy Alliance, I’m Mark Mathis. Power On.

View Sources

Texas Law SB 277 Removing tax incentives for industrial wind projects within 30 nautical miles of military installations


Testimony by General John F. Kelly, Feb 26, 2014, Commander U.S. Southern Command (page 20)


Assessment of Wind Turbine Impacts on 4th Fighter Wing F-15E Low Altitude Training, Seymour Johnson AFB, NC


Letter from Colonel Jeannie M. Leavitt, Commander, 4th Fighter Wing, Seymour Johnson AFB to Governor Beverly Perdue


Vertical Obstruction Map for North Carolina Military


Wise Energy Report “US Military vs. a Political Fad (Renewable Energy)


Wind Turbine Acoustic Investigation: Infrasound and Low-Frequency Noise—A Case Study – https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0270467612455734

Industrial wind turbines and adverse health effects. – https://srpc.ca/resources/Documents/CJRM/vol19n1/pg21.pdf

Infrasound From Wind Turbines Could Affect Humans – https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0270467611412555

A theory to explain some physiological effects of the infrasonic emissions at some wind farm sites – https://asa.scitation.org/doi/10.1121/1.4913775

Autism and the effect of introducing a new noise source into quiet rural communities: risk factor from industrial wind power generation – https://works.bepress.com/grace_howell/1/ 

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