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Wind Turbine Radar Interference in the United States

Wind Turbine Radar Interference in the United States
April 24, 2019 Mike Watson

Background

The US Department of Energy published its “Federal Interagency Wind Turbine Radar Interference Mitigation Strategy” in January 2016. Having recognised that wind farms can adversely affect radar and seeing the need for a continued growth of onshore and offshore wind the strategy was developed to enable the growth of wind whilst limiting adverse effects on radar.

Wind Turbine Radar Interference

Figure 1 Power County Wind Farm Idaho, United States

Consortium of Federal Agencies

In 2014 the following agencies established the Wind Turbine Radar Interference Mitigation (WTRIM) Working Group (WG):

  • U.S. Department of Defense
  • U.S. Department of Energy
  • Federal Aviation Administration
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

WTRIM WG Objectives

By 2025 to:

  1. Fully address wind turbine radar interference as an impact to critical radar missions
  2. Ensure the long-term resilience of radar operations in the presence of wind turbines
  3. Remove radar interference as an impediment to future wind energy development

WTRIM WG Strategy

Three strategic themes have been established to ensure the objectives are achieved. The themes are:

  1. Improving the capacity of government and industry to evaluate the impacts of existing and planned wind energy installations on sensitive radar systems
  2. Developing and facilitating the deployment of hardware and software mitigation measures to increase the resilience of existing radar systems to wind turbines
  3. Encouraging the development of next-generation radar systems that are resistant to wind turbine radar interference  

In Practice

SANDIA National Laboratories, in the US, have been researching wind turbine blade shapes and structures designed to have low radar impact using integrated Radar Absorbent Materials (RAM).

An integrated tool called TSPEAR is also being developed so that all stakeholders can share detailed wind farm radar assessment information. TSPEAR stands for Tool for Siting, Planning and Encroachment Analysis for Renewables.

Pilot mitigation projects have been established for wind turbine impacts at Travis (CA) and Cannon (NM) Air Force bases.

Pager Power

Pager Power helps wind developer assess and resolve potential radar impacts. The company also undertakes Glint and Glare assessments for solar PV developments. For more information please contact Mike Watson at Pager Power – mike@pagerpower.com

References

https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2016/06/f32/Federal-Interagency-Wind-Turbine-Radar-Interference-Mitigation-Strategy-02092016rev.pdf
https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2018/04/f51/WTRM_Factsheet_Final_2018.pdfhttps://eerscmap.usgs.gov/uswtdb
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Power_County_Wind_Farm_002.jpg

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