"Sustaining military readiness is the number one priority of everyone in the Navy chain of command," said Capt. Mark McLaughlin, commanding officer of NAS Kingsville. "This agreement helps preserve NAS Kingsville's capability to train naval aviators, while enabling the compatible development of new energy sources."
Signing for DoD was David Belote, director of the DoD Energy Siting Clearinghouse. Signing for the Navy were Roger Natsuhara, principal deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations and Environment; John Quinn, acting director of the Chief of Naval Operations Energy and Environmental Readiness Division; Vice Adm. William French, commander, Navy Installations Command; Rear Adm. John Scorby, commander, Navy Region Southeast; Capt. Douglas Edgecomb, commanding officer, Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, and McLaughlin. Dru Steubing signed on behalf of Texas Wind Group Managing.
"The Navy recognizes the strategic and fiscal importance of developing domestic sources of energy for use both ashore and at sea," said Quinn. "As we develop new sources of energy, it is critical that we not create a new problem as we solve another. This agreement with the Texas Wind Group is proof that when energy developers and the military work together, it is possible to achieve a win-win for both national security and energy security. This agreement allows the military mission and alternative energy production to co-exist in South Texas, and may pave the way for similar agreements elsewhere."
TWG's Riviera I wind farm project will be comprised of 83 turbines between nine and 11.5 nautical miles south of NAS Kingsville's radars and navigation aids. Electromagnetic interference (EMI) from the turbines has the potential to impact those systems. However, the MOA describes technical solutions for this, such as connecting NAS Kingsville's air surveillance radar system with the radar at Corpus Christi International Airport and optimizing radars to "ignore" signals received from wind turbines. TWG will contribute $500,000 to help pay for these technical upgrades to Navy radar systems. Under the MOA, TWG also agreed to reposition certain turbines that would have caused interference with the Kingsville precision approach radar. TWG also agreed to temporarily curtail the operation of certain turbines if the precision approach radar is negatively affected.
"The Texas Wind Group is delighted to be the first wind energy company to finalize an agreement of this type with the Navy," said Steubing. "We are fully committed to protecting the capability of our nation's military, and we appreciate the opportunity to work with the Navy to make our development compatible with the Navy mission in South Texas."
The Navy and the Department of Defense will continue working closely with renewable energy developers and local communities in South Texas to ensure local wind turbine projects can coexist with the Navy mission.