Wind Farms and Aviation Security: Solving the Dilemma

The concerns about air safety in proximity of wind farms are addressed by Terma with the SCANTER 4002 radar system. The radar is the only air surveillance system providing inter-turbine visibility and enables detection and tracking of small air targets inside and around wind farms.

When wind turbines are grouped in large wind farms they can have a significant effect on radars used for air surveillance as they are typically designed to show only moving objects and filter out anything stationary. The spinning blades of the wind turbines appear on the radar screen as unwanted targets. The interference or clutter generated by the turbines desensitise the radar in the area of the wind farm causing legitimate targets like aircraft to disappear.

This has created a dilemma between expanding wind energy and ensuring aviation security, and this uncertainty has lead to the postponement or even rejection of several planned wind farms. In 2009, approx. 45% of all new wind farm projects in the US were postponed or rejected due to this problem.

“The SCANTER radar provided by Terma can help authorities worldwide to reach their targets for renewable energy. The dilemma between wind energy and aviation security is solved with a flexible and affordable solution. The innovative and unique radar technology will support the development of wind farms as a tool to prevent current and future projects to be delayed or put on hold,” states senior vice president Morten Winterberg, Terma.

The SCANTER 4002 radar is designed specifically for the simultaneous detection and separation of small air targets and large surface targets like wind turbines. The high dynamic range and excellent resolution makes it ideal for detecting small targets like general aviation aircraft and helicopters, without degraded sensitivity in and around the wind farm. The radar can be installed independently of existing radar systems and data can easily be integrated to provide a complete air picture. The solution does not involve costly upgrades of existing radar systems, nor expensive and inefficient changes to the wind turbines themselves.

It is a flexible solution to a dilemma which currently has put major wind farm projects on hold, and endangers the ability to meet the targets for wind energy.

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