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We know that the federal Department of the Interior has cleared the way for the Cape Wind project proposed for Nantucket Sound. (In fact, the wind business is expanding in the area. The Vinyard Gazette reports that a cooperative has formed on Martha’s Vinyard that intends to open a Vineyard-owned wind farm — 17 turbines between three and 15 miles off the island’s south shore.) Now the federal government has opened the way for a wind farm in rural Oregon.
The Pentagon has withdrawn its objections to what could be the world’s largest wind farm, the Shephards Flat project in north central Oregon. The Air Force had worried that the turbines could interfere with a radar system in nearby Fossil, Oregon. (Map above.) The Defense Department said Friday that they will update the radar system so it wouldn’t be bothered by the wind farm.
The Shepherds Flat wind farm will be the home to 338 turbines that could produce 845 megawatts of power. The project will cost $2 billion and is being planned by Caithness Energy. The Air Force was concerned that reflections off the spinning blades could upset radar readings, a factor that could have shut down wind farms in the same area and in other states. “The bottom line for me is, had this not been worked out, blocking this project would have chilled the entire opportunity to generate significant new private investment in clean energy in this country,” said Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden.