Army attacks with succes

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Two wind turbines in North Rhine Westfalia are being dismantled under instructions from the German army. It claims they interfere with its flight control radar. Cranes moved in to fell the machines in August only days before Deutsche Aerospace came with a report suggesting the problem could be solved by shortening the towers. The report had been commissioned by the North Rhine Westfalia government in an attempt to rescue the ill-fated wind plant.

The perceived unreasonableness of the military authorities was met with a storm of protest, with widespread press coverage. The federal wind association, the Bundesverband Windenergie, called the army's action "unnecessary and over dramatised." Appeals were lodged by prominent politicians and with the Bonn Parliamentary Petitions Committee, but to no avail. And even a last ditch attempt to delay removal of the machines by selling them to television star Franz Alt brought no respite.

The Nordex N52 machines, an 800 kW and a 1 MW, were installed in 1995 near Borgentreich, 1.7 kilometres from the Auenhausen radar station and military airfield. Originally, licensing was secured for four 250 kW units, with military approval. But at the last moment project partners Lothar Vössing and Josef Wolf decided to install two larger machines instead and approval was rushed through by planners to make the deadline for land support. "Both we and the operators knew the necessary approval from the military had not been obtained," says Jürgen Krumböhmer of the Höxter planning office. The army, he adds, warned -- as the foundations were being laid -- that if the machines caused radar interference they would have them removed. Flight tests subsequently concluded the turbines caused radar interference and needed to be dismantled, says Krumböhmer.

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