Research tackles wind interference

Research to solve radar interference from wind turbines has been launched by the government to help address concerns over the construction of wind farms in the UK.

The research will be supported by £5.15m of funding made up of £1.6m from wind companies, £2m from the Crown Estate and £1.55m from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

According to the DECC, aviation objections are one of the major causes of wind planning applications being rejected in the UK. Currently, objections to over 5GW of wind farms that are in the planning system have been issued by NATS (formerly National Air Traffic Services).

A number of these projects have been granted consent by DECC, the Scottish Executive and local planning authorities on the premise that a solution to their potential radar interference from wind turbines is found.

Ed Milliband, minister for climate change, said: ‘I know that delays in the planning process can cause uncertainty and be a barrier to investment in renewables and there are specific issues in connection with aviation and radar that need to be addressed. This research and development (R&D) project could resolve wind impacts on radar in the UK and potentially release 5GW of wind power.’

He added: ‘By 2020, around a third of UK electricity needs to be from renewables, the bulk of that coming from wind. We are making very good progress – it took the UK 14 years to build our first 1GW of wind and we’ve now passed the 4GW mark, with the last gigawatt added in just a year.’

Rob Hastings, director of marine estate at The Crown Estate, said: ‘Offshore wind-energy generation is starting to mature. As the landowner of the seabed we are actively supporting this new industry, demonstrated today by this project, which forms part of our enabling actions commitment to accelerate and de-risk the development of Round Three. This is another step towards the successful delivery of 40GW by 2020.’

The 19-month research programme will be conducted by a team of NATS technical experts and will conclude in April 2011.