Document Type



This Article examines wind energy through the lens of national security. The benefit resides with helping the United States become energy independent. National-security concerns also present a cost because wind energy interferes with military radar, posing a potential threat to the systems that monitor possible attacks. This Article attempts to analyze the overall impact of wind energy while noting the inherent difficulties when so much uncertainty is involved in the process.

Part I of this Article discusses the benefits of wind energy. Part II examines its costs, specifically its interference with radar, and what that means for national security. This Part focuses on the fact that wind turbines can cause significant interference with radar, a problem complicated by the disturbing reality that it currently lies beyond the Department of Defense's (DOD's) technological capabilities to determine whether and if such interference occurs. Part III outlines the federal process by which wind energy interference with radar is managed and the mitigation strategies used to reduce the interference. Part IV uses a 2010 wind-energy project in Oregon as a case study to illustrate the uncertainties in calculating the costs of wind energy. Part V discusses the current mitigation strategies employed by federal agencies to reduce the effects of wind development on radar systems.1S Part VI analyzes the hard and soft uncertainties associated with the effects that wind turbines have on military radars.

Finally, this Article concludes that logic and common sense require a precautionary approach to this problem. Until such time as DOD is able to determine whether and to what extent wind turbines cause interference, no new permits for wind-energy developments should issue for installations in proximity to military radar. In addition, current radar facilities should be retrofitted immediately to the extent possible, and additional resources should be devoted to resolving the interference problem.