£7m wind turbines at standstill over radar fears

May 14, 2014 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

Ray Mellor, 80, said: “The thing is they went up with such phenomenal speed. I
can’t see why it has been so prolonged.

“If they are not producing energy yet, then they have no benefit. I’m not very
impressed with it and it’s not good enough. I also think they are hideous
and spoil our views.”

Terry Rogers, 55, added: “It’s the start of May and they’re still not
spinning. They’d be more use as washing lines.”

Wind turbines are problematic if they infringe on controlled airspace because
radar signals can be deflected by the giant blades, making them appear like
aircraft to air traffic controllers.

Because the blades are constantly moving the signals frequently disappear and
reappear, making it even harder to distinguish them from aeroplanes.

NATS, the national air traffic controller, says in more than 90 per cent of
cases it does not object to wind farms but in the remainder where they are
too close to radar sites, allowing the turbines to operate would compromise
safety.

It has recently developed a solution to the radar problem, which has occurred
at several sites across the UK, using a second radar from a different angle
to wipe the turbines off the map.

Where there is no second radar nearby wind farm developers can face paying
millions to install a new facility
, although in some cases alterations
to the existing radar and software upgrades
are able to filter out the
signal.

David Hawken, engineering director at NATS told the Telegraph: “What we could
not tolerate until quite recently is developments quite close to a radar
site, and because our radars are generally on top of hills around the
country they are also sites that are windy and attractive to wind farm
developers.

“We have got a solution now that we worked on with the suppliers of our radars
that can mitigate some of the developments.”

A spokesman for East Midlands Airport said: “The airport is currently working
alongside Severn Trent Water and a technology provider to install radar
technology that will mitigate any effect that their wind turbines will have
on the radar at the airport.

“Safety at East Midlands Airport is paramount and will not be compromised,
which is why it is essential that the technology is in place, before the
turbines can fully operate.”

Martin Dent, Severn Trent’s renewable energy manager, said the radar
technology was required as part of the planning permission which was granted
for the turbines.

“This equipment is needed to maintain the safe operation of the airport when
the wind turbines are operating,” he said.

“Even though they are located 10km from the airport, the turbines are still
within the controlled airspace of East Midlands and therefore they need to
have some specialist equipment fitted to enable them to run.”

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