Battleland

Winds of War

  • Share
  • Read Later

The Tin City turbine / AF photo

Apparently the Navy isn’t the only service that has trouble building projects with money from 2009’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Air Force planned on spending $15 million for three wind turbines to generate electric power for remote Alaskan radar sites. Sure, there have been the typical problems: each turbine’s cost has risen by $1 million.

But the real killer is the lack of planning done to ensure that the turbines make economic sense – the same problem the Navy had. One reason may be the Air Force’s incredibly-flawed test program to see if such turbines make sense in the first place.

In 2002, the Air Force studied possible sites for a pilot project. In 2007, they signed a $2 million contract to build a prototype at Tin City, Alaska, an isolated radar station located 700 miles northeast of Anchorage on the western-most tip of North America (yes, on a clear day you can see Russia).

The turbine was finished in October 2008. However, the Pentagon inspector general says in a new report, it isn’t generating any power. Why, curious taxpayers might want to know:

Completing a wind study would have provided [Air Force] personnel the information necessary to determine the most advantageous location at which to build the turbine. Because [Air Force] personnel did not complete a wind study at Tin City before construction, the turbine is located in an area with turbulent winds, and therefore, according to [Air Force] personnel, produces sporadic, unusable power.

Wind studies for the three new turbines weren’t completed before work began on them, either.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,306 other followers