Military Urged to Remove Wind Power Obstacles in Nevada

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is again urging the Air Force to remove some of the obstacles facing wind power developers in rural Nevada.

Reid said in a letter Thursday to Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne that a centralized process should be developed for considering proposed wind-energy projects.

The Senate leader also urged the military to invite state officials, utility executives and investors to form advisory groups for the Air Force as it sets policy for reviewing proposed wind projects.

The letter follows a Dec. 4 meeting between Wynne and Nevada's
congressional delegation. At the session, the Air Force leader was
pressed to give developers more guidance on acceptable locations
for wind projects.

In November, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, responding to inquiries from Reid, said the Pentagon wouldn't object to a wind farm project in eastern Nevada.

The big military concern in Nevada, where 86 percent of the land
is controlled by the federal government, has been that electricity-producing wind farms on mountain ridges or other windy areas might interfere with radar used to track aircraft, Reid has said.

The concern about radar has held up efforts to build wind farms
because the military has restricted airspace over millions of acres
of the federally controlled lands. But Reid said there are technological solutions to the problem that have been used elsewhere.

Reid said he knew of two proposed wind-energy projects in Nevada
that would produce 600 megawatts of electrical power. He said such
clean-energy sources would help to reduce the need for polluting coal-fired power plants.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-01-04-08 1447EST