Environmental Issues > Energy Main Page > All Energy Documents

The United States must move away from costly dirty sources of energy and toward developing renewable energy projects from the wind and sun that will power America into the clean energy future. But these projects must be located in places that avoid sensitive wildlife areas and other vital natural resources, and where they do not pose a conflict with DoD assets and activities, particularly in the West, where renewable energy development opportunity is abundant. The military test, training, and operational mission of the Department of Defense has a geographically extensive presence and involves rapidly changing military technology and research and development that may be impacted by renewable energy projects.

Working with U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), NRDC developed a first-of-its-kind mapping and analytic tool called the Renewable Energy And Defense Geospatial Database, or READ-Database. This tool provides Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data and is available online to help renewable energy developers identify appropriate sites for renewable projects such as utility-scale wind, solar, and geothermal energy facilities, that are unlikely to interfere with military activities and training, and have the fewest environmental conflicts.

To access the database, please submit a request here.

To view a sample of the READ-Database in Google Earth, click here.

Using the Renewable Energy And Defense Geospatial Database (READ-Database)

There are three data layers within the READ-Database that can help renewable energy developers determine the compatibility of a proposed renewable energy project with the DoD mission: Military Ranges and Installations, Military Training Routes and Special Use Airspace, and Radar Sites.

DoD facilities

Click on the map for a larger view.

Military Installations, Ranges, and Training Areas

On June 1, 2010, the DoD released Version 1.0 of the GIS dataset: "Military Installations, Ranges, and Training Areas (point locations and boundaries)." This data contains the authoritative point locations and available boundaries of 480 DoD sites. NRDC’s READ-Database incorporates this data, and adds to it additional DoD installations found in the National Atlas, compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau and listed in DoD Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) documents.

Military Training Routes and Special Use Airspace

Military Use Airspace (MUA) is airspace designated for military testing and training activities, including specialized flight test patterns and routes, "dogfighting" and other abrupt flight maneuvers. The military Services test and train in a wide range of airborne tactics, one of which is low-level combat maneuvers. The Military Training Route (MTR) program is a joint venture by the Federal Aviation Administration and the DoD to develop routes for the purpose of conducting low-altitude, high-speed testing and training activities. There are three types of MTRs in the READ-Database:

  • Instrument Military Training Route (IR): Operations on IR routes are conducted in accordance with Instrument Flight Rules (IFRs) regardless of weather conditions.
  • Visual Military Training Route (VR): Operations on VR routes are conducted in accordance with Visual Flight Rules (VFRs).
  • Slow Speed Low Altitude Training Route (SR): About 200 SRs in the United States are used for military air operations at or below 1500 feet above ground level and at air speeds of 250 knots or less. SRs are flown both day and night, but only under VFR conditions.
flight routes

Click on the map for a larger view.

In addition, the READ-Database incorporates airspace owner contact information and other route data from the most current DoD Flight Information Publication Area Planning (commonly referred to as AP/1B), when possible.

Special use airspace (SUA) is airspace designated only for specific purposes, frequently military operations. Types of SUA include Alert Areas, Prohibited Areas, Restricted Areas and Warning Areas. Alert Areas may contain a high volume of test and training activities or an unusual type of aerial activity that could present a hazard to other aircraft. In Prohibited Areas, over-flight of a surface area is prohibited in the interest of national security or environmental protection without permission by the using agency. Restricted Areas are established where ongoing or intermittent activities create unusual and often invisible hazards to aircraft, such as artillery firing, aerial gunnery, practice bomb dropping, and guided missile testing. Finally, Warning Areas contain the same kind of hazardous flight activity as restricted areas and MOA’s, but are located offshore over domestic and international waters. All Special Use Airspace is important to consider when developing renewable energy projects on the ground.

radar

Click on the map for a larger view.

Radar Sites

Radar sites within the READ-Database consist of NEXRAD and Terminal Doppler weather radar stations, Airport Surveillance Radar installations, and Air Route Surveillance Radar installations that have been identified in open publications by DoD, the FAA, NOAA or DoD contractors. In addition, Line-of-Sight (LOS) calculations are included in the READ-Database for these radars, assuming either a 100-meter or 250-meter wind turbine blade tip height.

Conservation Areas

In addition to DoD data layers, the READ-Database contains conservation data layers relevant to renewable energy siting for the U.S. western states, including: National Parks, Congressionally-designated wilderness, elements of the National Landscape Conservation System (NCLS), U.S. Forest Service Inventoried Roadless Areas, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Wilderness Study Areas and Areas of Critical Environmental Concern, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Refuges.


Disclaimer from the US Department of Defense

The defense-related information used by NRDC to develop this on-line tool was compiled from open sources and from unclassified geospatial data provided by the Department of Defense. This information may not be current and does not necessarily reflect the official policy of the Department of Defense or the U.S. Government, and should be used for preliminary planning purposes only. If use of this tool indicates an intersection of your planned project and a DoD equity, you should contact the DoD Siting Clearinghouse at osd.dod-siting-clearinghouse@mail.mil. Indeed, DoD encourages all renewable energy developers to contact the DoD Siting Clearinghouse as early as possible in the siting process. Details about the DoD Siting Clearinghouse, including how to follow the early consultation process outlined in 32 CFR Part 211 can be found at http://www.acq.osd.mil/dodsc/.

last revised 11/8/2011

All Tags [ View Popular Tags ]:
60mpg
AB 1493
AB 32
agriculture
air pollution
air toxics
alabama
algae
AnthonySwift
Appalachia
appliances
Arctic
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
asthma
automakers
aviation
beaches
biochar
biodiesel
biofuels
biogas
biomass
birds
boreal forest
budget
CaiSteger
California
California environmental legislation
Canada
cap 2.0
cap and trade
carbon footprint
carbon offsets
carbon pollution
cars
case studies
causes of global warming
CCS
CFLs
Chile
china
CHP
Clean air
Clean Air Act
clean energy
clean energy economy
clean vehicles
cleantech
climate
climate change
climate legislation
coal
coal-fired power plants
compact fluorescent lighting
compact fluorescents
computer equipment
Congress
conservation and restoration
consumer products
coral
cover crop
Danielle Droitsch
DanielleDroitsch
data centers
deforestation
demand side management
DerekMurrow
DevraWang
DianeBailey
diesel
diesel buses
diesel exhaust
dirty fuels
dod
dolphins
drilling
economy
efficiency
efficient light bulbs
efficient vehicles
electric cars
electric utilities
electric vehicles
electricity
electricity and natural gas utlities
ElizabethShope
emissions
energy efficiency
energy efficiency standard
energy efficient buildings
energy efficient light bulbs
energy effiency
energy plan
energy policy
energy security
energyappropriations
energyapprops
energy-efficient bulbs
environmental history
environmental protection agency
EPA
ethanol
finance
fish & fishing
florida
Forests
fracking
fracking risks
FranzMetzner
fuel
fuel economy
fuel efficiency
fuel efficiency standards
fuel savings
gas drilling
gas prices
gasoline
gis
global warming
global warming and the economy
global warming emissions
global warming legislation
global warming pollution
globalwarming
green building
green buildings
green business
green jobs
green sports
greenhouse gas emissions
Gulf
gulf of mexico
gulfofmexico
gulfspill
halogen bulbs
halogen lightbulbs
health
health effects
home energy
home networks
household energy use
HUD
human health
Hurricane Katrina
hybrid
hybrid cars
hybrid electric vehicles
hybrid vehicles
hybrids
hydraulic fractring
hydraulic fracturing
hydrogen
hydropower
incandescent lighbulbs
incandescent light bulbs
India
India Initiative
indoor air quality
infrastructure efficiency
interiorappropriations
interiorapprops
jobs
keystone
Keystone XL
Kids' Health
KXL
Latin America
LCFS
lead
LEDs
light
light bulbs
light emitting diodes
liquid coal
livestock farms
location efficiency
Los Angeles
louisiana
LukeTonachel
mapping
Marcellus Shale
Massachusetts
mercury
methane
Mexico
mid-Atlantic
Middle East
mining
mississippi
Missouri
Montana
mountains
mountaintop removal mining
mtr
natural gas
natural gas drilling
NEPA
New York
Nigeria
nitrogen oxides
North Dakota
Northeast states
nrdc offices
nuclear energy
oceans
offshore
offshore drilling
offshore oil
ohio
oil
oil and gas industry
oil consumption
oil dependence
oil drilling
oil imports
oil shale
oil spill
oil spills
oilspill
OPEC
open space
ozone
particulate pollution
pennsylvania
Persian Gulf
photos
pipeline
policy
pollution
power plants
PTC
public lands
public transportation
rail
refrigerants
regional greenhouse gas initiative
regulatory reform
renewable energy
renewable fuel
renewables
residential small networks
respiratory illness
RGGI
riders
Rocky Mountains
RPS
Russia
SB 315
schools
server rooms
shell
smart biomass
smart grid
smart growth
smog
smog air pollution
solar
solar power
solutions
soot
Southeast
sulfur dioxide
SusanCasey-Lefkowitz
sustainable sourcing
tar sands
tar sands pipeline
tar sands; keystone xl
tax incentives
tax subsidies
television
tennessee
texas
toxic waste
trailbreaker
transit
transportation
transportation bill
trasnportation
tv
tvs
utilities
VEETC
vehicle
vehicle emissions
vehicles
Venezuela
wastewater
water efficiency
water management
Water Pollution
western water
wetlands
whales
what you can do
wind
wind power
wind turbines

Sign up for NRDC's online newsletter

See the latest issue >

Give the Gift That Will Make a Difference: Renewable Reality

NRDC Gets Top Ratings from the Charity Watchdogs

Charity Navigator awards NRDC its 4-star top rating.
Worth magazine named NRDC one of America's 100 best charities.
NRDC meets the highest standards of the Wise Giving Alliance of the Better Business Bureau.


Donate now >

Related Stories

Efficient Appliances Save Energy -- and Money
A consumer's guide to buying energy efficient appliances and electronics.
Share | |
Find NRDC on
YouTube