A $670 million wind farm planned west of the township of Yass in New South Wales (NSW) has raised aviation concerns related to impacts on radar and small airfields in the area .
Yass Valley Wind Farm
The proposed wind farm is planned to be comprised of 134 turbines . The wind farm location compared to Canberra International Airport can be seen in figure 1 below.
Based on recent news releases the concerns are related to potential radar interference and flying safety at small airfields. More specifically:
- AirServices Australia, has potential issues with Air Traffic Control (ATC) radar located at Mt. Majura (Canberra) and Mt. Bobbara (near Binalong) because they were not given enough information within the provided aeronautical assessment. An Environmental Impact Assessment including consideration of aviation impacts was previously completed which can be found here.
- NSW Planning and Environment found that aircraft flying from 9 of the 23 nearby airstrips may be at risk. This is because the aircraft may not reach a sufficient altitude, in terms of obstacle clearance, prior to reaching the wind turbines.
Aeronautical Impacts of Wind Farms
How likely is that a wind farm can affect aeronautical installations? It depends on the country, the aviation stakeholder, the aeronautical equipment, the specific operations, and the wind farm configuration amongst other factors.
When interference has been predicted how easy is it to solve? It depends and it can get complicated (we have previously discussed it here). Overall, solutions could be found. However, sometimes the cost of implementing a mutually acceptable solution may not be financially viable for a proposed wind farm.
Have you had any other instances where a wind farm could not be built in Australia due to impacts on aeronautical operations?
 NSW Planning throws Yass Valley wind farm project into doubt after scathing report, The Canberra Times (Last accessed 23/03/2015).