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PNS Daily Newscast - December 15, 2017 


What's next following the FCC vote to end net neutrality? We have a pair of reports. Also on our Friday rundown: We'll let you know why adolescents in foster care need opportunities to thrive; and steps you can take to avoid losing your holiday loot.

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Expert: NC Wind Farms, Military Bases Can Coexist

Experts from the U.S. Department of Defense say wind farms in North Carolina will not interfere with national security or military training. (Avangrid Renewables)
Experts from the U.S. Department of Defense say wind farms in North Carolina will not interfere with national security or military training. (Avangrid Renewables)
April 26, 2017

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. - North Carolina's first wind farm continues to get blowback from state GOP lawmakers, who claim it could interfere with training at the state's military bases. Experts from the Navy, Coast Guard and Department of Defense have all argued that isn't the case, saying wind farms can accommodate the military with radar upgrades and have the ability to turn off turbines when needed.

"So, every single wind turbine that is built in the country has had multiple sets of military eyes on it," said Dave Belote, who as a consultant at the Pentagon helped devise a compatibility review process for wind farms and the military. "So, if a wind turbine has been built and approved by the Federal Aviation Administration, you can guarantee that it's compatible with a nearby military flight mission."

Belote said most military flight paths are above the 500- to 600-foot tower height of wind turbines. The Defense Department also has a clearinghouse process that requires wind developers to clear projects with the department at least 45 days prior to construction. Belote said most projects begin this process years in advance, but wind-farm opponents still cite possible threats to national security.

Belote said wind energy actually can assist the military in staying operational during emergencies that could interrupt other parts of the power grid. Since many countries where U.S. troops are likely to put their training into practice already have wind installations, he said, encountering them at home only helps.

"All of the flying that you do in this country needs to be representative of the flying we would do in war," he said. "People are actually undermining the readiness of the military if they are trying to create some kind of pristine environment for fighter pilots. We want our training environment to look exactly like the real world."

The state's first wind farm, Avangrid Renewables, also generates tax benefits for the counties where it's located. The company pays $270,000 a year in taxes - more than Dominion Power - in Pasquotank and Perquimans counties. Landowners who agree to host turbines receive $6,000 a year per windmill.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - NC