Figure 1: Lincolnshire Offshore Turbines – visible for RAF Coningsby Radar The new agreement provides the wind industry with MoD funding to test a number of concepts and reduction technologies, including different types of new radars that show the potential to distinguish wind turbines and aircraft in a “much more sophisticated” way than before. It appears that the MOD will continue to oppose offshore wind farms that affect its air defence radar unless an alternative mitigation solution is found. The UK has ambitious growth targets for offshore renewable energy, which means that a solution to this problem is needed. The contract signed between NATS and wind turbine developers SSE and Vattenfall guarantees funding for modifications to two radars manufactured by Raytheon – Lowther Hill and Great Dun Fell – to better mitigate wind turbine disruptions. “This is a pioneering agreement that represents an important technical advance in the control of radar disturbances by wind turbines; It has considerable potential for wind energy production and, indeed, for the UK in achieving its CO2 reduction targets,” said Richard Deakin, MANAGING director of NATS. The project is sponsored by wind promoter Scottish Power Renewables (SPR), air traffic control equipment Thales, consultant Cyrrus and holographic radar manufacturer Aveillant (owned by Thales). Currently, Aveillant radar is used to mitigate the wind farm`s radars at short range, as the radar`s 60 nautical mile range is technically feasible but not fully demonstrated. Much of Project Greenblade`s work is to move the A-watching radar from its current state to an area where it has a proven track record of mitigating the impact of wind turbines on radar. The radar is first funded by the wind industry.
They will be adopted by the Ministry of Defence as soon as they are integrated into their systems. According to NATS, about 2% of planned turbine installations are expected to interfere with radar signals used by air traffic controllers to control aircraft. Radar disruption of air traffic control is often the result of a back-throughment of large rotor blades to wind turbines near airports, which appears as a large “lump” on radar screens, which can be confused as a thunderstorm or other weather phenomenon. This interference, known as the “wind turbine disorder,” hampers the radar system`s ability to identify the position and altitude of nearby aircraft, impairing air traffic control`s ability to fly aircraft. In such cases, nats is often forced to object to the installation for aviation safety reasons, resulting in the application being rejected by the planning authority. The UK`s offshore wind industry is making millions of pounds available to the Ministry of Defence to test technologies that can mitigate the impact of projects on air defence radars. www.thalesgroup.com/en/global/activities/defence/air-forces/radars-and-sensors Aveillant`s radar range is extended to 60 nautical miles, with the installation of a radar network along the North Sea coast. These new radars are used to provide coverage by wind farms that affect the MOD`s radar. Data from the new radar will be integrated into air defence and air navigation systems. Pager Power advises wind developers on radar detectors; Mitigation options and overall project risk resulting from radar screens. However, the new agreement means that a technical modification developed as part of a three-year program, known as Project RM, can be made to the radar to mitigate these interferences.