Audit Claims Air Force Wind Projects Poorly Planned, Costly

A Department of Defense audit says Air Force wind projects in Western Alaska were poorly planned and delays could cost millions of dollars.   The projects were designed to power remote radar sites that currently rely on diesel power generation.

Only one turbine has been constructed so far. In 2008, a $2 million test turbine was built at Tin City, located about 100 miles northwest of Nome, near Wales. An audit by the Defense Department’s inspector general says the turbine was constructed without data from wind studies. The turbine was not operational in 2009 and the Air Force spent nearly a half million dollars to fix power integration issues. The Air force said earlier this year the turbine is producing sporadic and unusable power, and continuing to incur costs.

Three additional wind projects were funded two years ago with stimulus money, costing $4.7 million each.  The radar locations are Cape Romanzof, Cape Newenham, and Cape Lisburne.  The money was supposed to go to “shovel ready” projects. The audit says the new projects were not at that stage.

The report faults the 611th Civil Engineering Squadron based at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson as well as the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense Installations and Environment office for mismanagement of the project.

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