Saturday, May 13, 2006

US wind energy on track for another record year

US wind energy on track for another record year
Wednesday, 10 May 2006
The US wind energy industry is on track to installing a record-breaking 3,000MW this year the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) said in its First Quarter Market Report.

Construction is under way on a number of facilities scheduled for completion in 2006. Over 400MW of new plants have already been brought online since January. More of these positive outcomes could be held up, however, by concern over potential effects on civilian or military radar. Action by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regional offices and the Department of Defense (DOD) has effectively halted development of several pending wind energy facilities and the potential exists for more such shutdowns. Installation of the vast majority of proposed projects is on schedule, but a total of at least 500MW due for completion this year and next is now under a de facto moratorium, according to initial AWEA estimates, and that number could grow if the issue is not swiftly and appropriately resolved as part of the project siting process.

The possibility of radar interference has been known for a long time, and a variety of solutions already exist: wind turbines and radars function successfully in areas at home and abroad where wind turbines are in operation (including on military bases such as Guantanamo Bay and Wyoming’s F.E. Warren Air Force Base). AWEA recognizes and respects the paramount importance of any concerns relating to security, and supports resolving legitimate problems as quickly as possible.