Nova Scotia

Military concerned about wind farm proposal

The Canadian military says that a wind farm proposed for the Annapolis Valley will interfere with flight operations at its large airbase at Greenwood.

The Canadian military says that a wind farm proposed for the Annapolis Valley will interfere with flight operations at its large airbase at Greenwood.

CBC News has learned that the Department of National Defence notified Sprott Power several months ago that its proposed wind farm would interrupt radar coverage.

The military's concerns became public at a meeting in Bridgetown, Nova Scotia on Tuesday.

The conflict between wind towers and radar installations is a national and international concern, but this is the first time the issue has been raised in Nova Scotia.

The military believes wind towers can't coexist with the radar coverage needed for aircraft operations in and out of Greenwood.

Sprott Power of Toronto has proposed to build a 12-tower wind farm on Hampton Mountain about 40 kilometres from 14 Wing Greenwood.

"The current Hampton farm proposal would block off the vectoring airspace to the approaches to one of the primary runways," said Maj. Al Harvey.

The military said radar locks onto the turning blades — which register as a target, blocking off everything behind the turbines and confusing images in the air space above the turbines.

It causes loss of visibility on the entire sector of airspace up the air column behind the turning blades.

It means that air traffic controllers can't see an aircraft in that area on their computer systems, or be able to separate various aircrafts that may be flying in the area and maintain safety.

"In terms of the Hampton site, it would've interfered unduly with some of our mission profiles and we asked them to look at perhaps changing that," said Harvey.

Sprott declined a request for an interview but in a statement said radar installation and wind farms coexist elsewhere.

"We are committed to addressing any concern regarding the location of our project at Hampton Mountain," said the statement.

"We expect ... Greenwood's concerns can be addressed in a similar fashion and that the Hampton Mountain project will proceed."

This is the first potential conflict between the military at Greenwood and wind power developers, but the military said the issue may come up again in the future.

"We are seeing more and more proponents who rightly so want to set up wind turbines and benefit the province. Our only concern is to maintain our radar capabilities," Harvey said.