Sen. Steve Waugh (R-St. Mary’s, Calvert) introduced legislation this week that goes beyond a temporary moratorium on a proposed wind turbine farm across the Chesapeake Bay in Somerset County.An engineer friend suggests that the quick and easy solution would be to paint the blades of the turbines with radar absorbing paint (like they do with stealth aircraft).
The bill would require the Maryland Public Service Commission to evaluate the impact of a proposed wind project that “directly or indirectly encroaches on existing, private, state, federal or military infrastructure, resources, facilities, ranges, or operating environments,” and prohibits the commission from approving such a project “unless the proposed offshore wind project will not impact restricted areas and a specified warning area in a specified manner.”
Pioneer Green’s Great Bay wind energy project in Somerset County poses an interference threat to a specialized radar system at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, home to some 22,000 jobs.
In last year’s session, Maryland lawmakers approved a bill to put a moratorium on the project’s approval until the Massachusetts Institute of Technology completed a $2 million study on the impact of wind turbines on the ADAMS radar system.
Then-Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) vetoed that bill last year, citing his support for renewable energy.
Great Bay still is awaiting several approvals though, and must comply with federal restrictions that have been imposed.
The veto “left us in a vulnerable position,” Waugh said Wednesday. “We know that windmills are an existential threat to the Atlantic Test Range.”
Another solution might be to make wind power rise or fall on its own economic merits, without heavy federal subsidies. In which case, no one would be proposing to put wind turbines on the Eastern Shore.