The South Carolina Military Base Task Force says it is trying to spur exploration into the feasibility of using wind turbines to generate energy.
Members of the task force met with the Office of Regulatory Staff in June to discuss the issue and later with the Clemson Wind Research and Development Facility. They are concerned about turbines being placed in the flight path for Air Force training runs.
“We are working very closely with the Department of Defense and the FAA in dealing with the possibility of wind turbines and the rules are as far as where they can be placed,” task force chairman Bill Bethea said.
Wind turbines can be low-level obstructions to flight lines and also can disrupt radar signals.
“Much of coastal South Carolina is probably off-limits to them because of aircraft practice areas but there are some areas in the northern part of the coast that might at some time be attractive for that,” Bethea said.
The task force is suggesting legislation that outlines the study and permitting process for installing wind turbines, both on and off shore, in South Carolina. They want to lay the groundwork before issues arise.
“All we’re trying to do, in working with the siting office in Washington, is to create in South Carolina a clear footprint as to what the steps are if someone wants to do that,” he said.
The Department of Defense has a siting clearinghouse to develop energy sources that are compatible with national security.
The task force said it wants to avoid a situation such as occurred in Oklahoma, where installed wind turbines were later found to interfere with the flight paths of four Air Force bases and an Army post.
“Outlines what the steps are and create a statute that gives the energy office in Columbia, a way to demonstrate what the critera are if you might be interested in trying to explore those opportunities,” Bethea said.
This is one of several legislative priorities for the Military Base Task Force. In addition to attempting to get previous requests for legislation passed, the group also is encouraging full tax exemptions for people receiving military retirement pay.