Wind farm developers in Texas would be required to notify the Defense Department of their plans before connecting to the state’s electricity grid, under a legislative proposal the operator of the state grid wants lawmakers to consider.
An official with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) proposed the rule change to the Texas House Defense and Veterans Affairs Committee during a hearing last week in Wichita Falls. Sheppard Air Force Base leaders have said two wind farm projects in north central Texas could threaten the installation’s pilot training mission by interfering with the base’s radar systems and limiting the number of days pilots could train.
Warren Lasher, ERCOT’s director of planning, wants to see “increased coordination and communication” between DOD and wind energy developers to resolve the dispute over the projects near Sheppard and other similar conflicts. The rule he proposed would require developers to submit an affidavit to ERCOT stating they have informed DOD of their intention to build an energy project before connecting to the state power grid, reported the Times Record News.
“This will ensure that all energy developers check with DOD well before” any large-scale energy developments are put into motion, Lasher testified.
Energy projects with the potential to interfere with military operations already are subject to review by the DOD Siting Clearinghouse, but an ERCOT spokeswoman said the rule change would further enhance coordination between the parties.
“I understand there already are rules in place to have this review by the DOD, but this additional requirement in our planning process would establish a time frame in the process,” said Robbie Searcy.
The proposed rule is supported by the office of Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and the Texas Military Preparedness Commission.