On screen….

Timlynn Babitsky | Issues: Strategies & Tactics,Radar interference | Thursday, April 10th, 2008

by Timlynn Babitsky
Wind turbines, radio towers and tall buildings have the potential to affect radar. They are signal reflectors. If sited in the wrong location, wind turbines can impact the ability of radar to perform its mission. But to what extent is radar interference a large enough problem to halt wind farm development and how exactly do turbines interfere with radar?

Like so many issues regarding wind energy, emotions on the radar issue run high in both supporters and resistors. A great deal of misinformation can lock contenders in a stalemate, block a wind farm project and slam the door on further discussion. It is incredibly important to do a great deal of homework on the big picture around your wind project agenda. On the radar interference issue, do a Google search for Gary Seifert.

Gary Seifert, a senior program manager at the Idaho National Laboratory, has over 25 years of engineering experience in wind turbine technology. Among other things he is currently involved in studies for multiple Department of Defense government wind projects and is currently leading a technical wind radar interaction project for the US Department of Energy.

In an excellent presentation on radar interference, Gary points out that radar interference is real and it could impact military and air traffic control missions. But ….and this is a BIG BUT – he also notes that only a small percentage of wind farms do impact the ability of radar to perform its mission and, that individual site circumstances determine the situation.

Above all Gary cautions both developers and those who claim “radar interference” to determine the real impact, not the perceived impact; to identify the issue early in the process; to communicate well and often; and to “strive for Win-Win Solutions.” 

Sound familiar?

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