The UK’s Ministry of Defence (MOD) is testing two wind farm friendly radar technologies from BAE Systems and Selex Sistemi Integrati, a Finmeccanica company, over Clatter Mountain near Newtown in Powys, mid-Wales.
The trials are being conducted near four working wind farms of varying size, scale and model of wind turbines, collectively providing a rigorous test for each technology.
The systems under test are designed to overcome interference on civil and military air traffic control radar associated with the large radar cross-section for turbine towers and potential false tracks associated with movement of turbine blade tips, an issue that has effectively restricted a significant proportion of potential wind farm development. According to Chris Tomlinson, director of operations at the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA), around 50% of wind farm proposals raise objections during the pre-consultation process as a result of the radar issue. While developments may ultimately be rejected on other grounds, resolving the radar problem would effectively double the potential land area in the UK available for wind farm development. “Without resolving the radar issue, wind farm development may be limited to perhaps 7 – 8 GW in the UK, with a solution this figure may rise to perhaps 12 GW or 10% of UK capacity,” Tomlinson tells MPS.
Results from the trials are due in September or October.