Wind farm

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Gansu Wind Farm in China is the largest wind farm in the world, with a target capacity of 20,000 MW by 2020.
The Shepherds Flat Wind Farm is an 845 MW wind farm in the U.S. state of Oregon.

A wind farm is a group of wind turbines in the same location used to produce electricity. A large wind farm may consist of several hundred individual wind turbines and cover an extended area of hundreds of square miles, but the land between the turbines may be used for agricultural or other purposes. A wind farm can also be located offshore.

Many of the largest operational onshore wind farms are located in China, India, and the United States. For example, the largest wind farm in the world, Gansu Wind Farm in China has a capacity of over 6,000  MW as of 2012, [1] with a goal of 20,000 MW by 2020. As of April 2013, the 630 MW London Array in the UK is the largest offshore wind farm in the world.

Design and location

Map of available wind power over the United States. Color codes indicate wind power density class

As a general rule, economic wind generators require windspeed of 4.5 m/s (16 km/h) or greater. An ideal location would have a near constant flow of non-turbulent wind throughout the year, with a minimum likelihood of sudden powerful bursts of wind. An important factor of turbine siting is also access to local demand or transmission capacity.

Usually sites are screened on the basis of a wind atlas, and validated with wind measurements. Meteorological wind data alone is usually not sufficient for accurate siting of a large wind power project. Collection of site specific data for wind speed and direction is crucial to determining site potential [2] [3] in order to finance the project [4]. Local winds are often monitored for a year or more, and detailed wind maps constructed before wind generators are installed.

The wind blows faster at higher altitudes because of the reduced influence of drag. The increase in velocity with altitude is most dramatic near the surface and is affected by topography, surface roughness, and upwind obstacles such as trees or buildings. Typically, the increase of wind speeds with increasing height follows a wind profile power law, which predicts that wind speed rises proportionally to the seventh root of altitude. Doubling the altitude of a turbine, then, increases the expected wind speeds by 10%, and the expected power by 34%.

In general, a distance of 7D (7 × Rotor Diameter of the Wind Turbine) is set between each turbine in a fully developed wind farm, [5] but micrositing optimizes placement, particularly in hilly areas. Individual turbines are interconnected with a medium voltage (usually 34.5 kV) power collection system and communications network. At a substation, this medium-voltage electric current is increased in voltage with a transformer for connection to the high voltage transmission system. Construction of a land-based wind farm requires installation of the collector system and substation, and possibly access roads to each turbine site.

First wind farm consisting of 7.5 megawatt (MW) Enercon E-126 turbines, Estinnes, Belgium, 20 July 2010, two months before completion; note the 2-part blades.
First wind farm consisting of 7.5  megawatt (MW) Enercon E-126 turbines ( Estinnes, Belgium, 20 July 2010), two months before completion; note the 2-part blades.

Onshore installations

Part of the Biglow Canyon Wind Farm, Oregon, United States with a turbine under construction

The world's first wind farm was 0.6 MW, consisting of 20 wind turbines rated at 30 kilowatts each, installed on the shoulder of Crotched Mountain in southern New Hampshire in December 1980. [6] [7]

World's largest onshore wind farms
Wind farm Current
capacity
( MW)
Country Notes
Gansu Wind Farm 6,800 China [1] [8] [9] [10] [11]
Zhang Jiakou 3,000 China [8]
Urat Zhongqi, Bayannur City 2,100 China [8]
Hami Wind Farm 2,000 China [8]
Damao Qi, Baotou City 1,600 China [8]
Alta (Oak Creek-Mojave) 1,320 United States [12]
Jaisalmer Wind Park 1,064 India [13]
Hongshagang, Town, Minqin County 1,000 China [8]
Kailu, Tongliao 1,000 China [8]
Chengde 1,000 China [8]
Buffalo Gap Wind Farm 523.3 United States [14] [15]
Capricorn Ridge Wind Farm 662.5 United States [14] [15]
Dabancheng Wind Farm 500 China [16]
Fântânele-Cogealac Wind Farm 600 Romania [17]
Fowler Ridge Wind Farm 599.8 United States [18]
Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center 735.5 United States [14] [15]
Meadow Lake Wind Farm 500 United States [18]
Panther Creek Wind Farm 458 United States [15]
Roscoe Wind Farm 781.5 United States [19]
Shepherds Flat Wind Farm 845 United States
Sweetwater Wind Farm 585.3 United States [14]
Whitelee Wind Farm 539 Scotland, U.K

Onshore turbine installations in hilly or mountainous regions tend to be on ridgelines generally three kilometres or more inland from the nearest shoreline. This is done to exploit the topographic acceleration as the wind accelerates over a ridge. The additional wind speeds gained in this way can increase energy produced because more wind goes through the turbines. The exact position of each turbine matters, because a difference of 30m could potentially double output. This careful placement is referred to as 'micro-siting'.

Offshore installations

Offshore wind turbines near Copenhagen, Denmark.

Europe is the leader in offshore wind energy, with the first offshore wind farm (Vindeby) being installed in Denmark in 1991. As of 2010, there are 39 offshore wind farms in waters off Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom, with a combined operating capacity of 2,396 MW. More than 100 GW (or 100,000 MW) of offshore projects are proposed or under development in Europe. The European Wind Energy Association has set a target of 40 GW installed by 2020 and 150 GW by 2030. [20]

As of 2017, The London Array in United Kingdom is the largest offshore wind farm in the world at 630 MW, followed by Gemini Wind Farm (600 MW) in the Netherlands.

The world's 10 largest offshore wind farms
Wind farm Capacity
( MW)
Country Turbines & model Commissioned Refs
London Array 630 United Kingdom 175 × Siemens SWT-3.6 2013 [21]
Gemini Wind Farm 600 Netherlands 150 × Siemens SWT-4.0 2017 [22]
Greater Gabbard wind farm 504 United Kingdom 140 × Siemens SWT-3.6 2012 [23]
Anholt 400 Denmark 111 × Siemens
3.6-120
2013 [24] [25] [26] [27]
BARD Offshore 1 400 Germany 80 × BARD 5.0 2013 [28] [29] [30]
Walney 367 United Kingdom 102 × Siemens SWT-3.6 2012 [31] [32]
Thorntonbank 325 Belgium 6 × 5MW REpower
and 48 × 6.15MW REpower
2013 [33] [34]
Sheringham Shoal 315 United Kingdom 88 × Siemens
3.6-107
2012 [35] [36] [37] [38]
Thanet 300 United Kingdom 100 × Vestas V90-3MW 2010 [39] [40]
Lincs 270 United Kingdom 75 × Siemens SWT-3.6MW 2013 [41]
Horns Rev II 209 Denmark 91 × Siemens 2.3–93 2009 [42]

Offshore wind turbines are less obtrusive than turbines on land, as their apparent size and noise is mitigated by distance. Because water has less surface roughness than land (especially deeper water), the average wind speed is usually considerably higher over open water. Capacity factors (utilisation rates) are considerably higher than for onshore locations. [43]

The province of Ontario in Canada is pursuing several proposed locations in the Great Lakes, including the suspended [44] Trillium Power Wind 1 approximately 20 km from shore and over 400 MW in size. [45] Other Canadian projects include one on the Pacific west coast. [46]

In 2010, there were no offshore wind farms in the United States, but projects were under development in wind-rich areas of the East Coast, Great Lakes, and Pacific coast; [20] and in late 2016 the Block Island Wind Farm was commissioned.

Installation and service / maintenance of off-shore wind farms are a specific challenge for technology and economic operation of a wind farm. As of 2015, there are 20 jackup vessels for lifting components, but few can lift sizes above 5MW. [47] Service vessels have to be operated nearly 24/7 (availability higher than 80% of time) to get sufficient amortisation from the wind turbines.[ citation needed] Therefore, special fast service vehicles for installation (like Wind Turbine Shuttle) as well as for maintenance (including heave compensation and heave compensated working platforms to allow the service staff to enter the wind turbine also at difficult weather conditions) are required. So-called inertial and optical based Ship Stabilization and Motion Control systems (iSSMC) are used for that.

Experimental and proposed wind farms

There exist also some wind farms which were mainly built for testing wind turbines. In such wind farms, there is usually from each type to be tested only a single wind turbine. Such farms have usually at least one meteorological tower. An example of an experimental wind farm is Østerild Wind Turbine Test Field.

For some time, airborne wind farms have been discussed. [48] An airborne wind farm is a group of airborne wind energy systems near to each other, connected to the grid in the same point.

By region

Australia

The Australian Canunda Wind Farm, South Australia at sunrise
Large operational wind farms in Australia: September 2012 [49] [50] [51] [52]
Wind farm Installed
capacity
(MW)
Developer State
Collgar Wind Farm 206 UBS Investment Bank &
Retail Employees Superannuation Trust
Western Australia
Capital Wind Farm 140.7 Infigen Energy New South Wales
Hallett Group 298 AGL Energy South Australia
Lake Bonney Wind Farm 278 Infigen Energy South Australia
Portland Group 132 Victoria
Waubra Wind Farm 192 Acciona Energy &
ANZ Infrastructure Services
Victoria
Woolnorth Wind Farm 140 Roaring 40s & Hydro Tasmania Tasmania

Canada

The Pubnico Wind Farm taken from Beach Point, Lower East Pubnico, Nova Scotia
The Pubnico Wind Farm taken from Beach Point, Lower East Pubnico, Nova Scotia
Large wind farms in Canada [53]
Name Capacity ( MW) Location Province
Anse-à-Valleau Wind Farm 100 Gaspé Quebec
Caribou Wind Park 99 70 km west of Bathurst New Brunswick
Bear Mountain Wind Park 120 Dawson Creek British Columbia
Centennial Wind Power Facility 150 Swift Current Saskatchewan
Enbridge Ontario Wind Farm 181 Kincardine Ontario
Erie Shores Wind Farm 99 Port Burwell Ontario
Jardin d'Eole Wind Farm 127 Saint-Ulric Quebec
Kent Hills Wind Farm 96 Riverside-Albert New Brunswick
Melancthon EcoPower Centre 199 Melancthon Ontario
Port Alma Wind Farm 101 Chatham-Kent Ontario
Chatham Wind Farm 101 Chatham-Kent Ontario
Prince Township Wind Farm 189 Sault Ste. Marie Ontario
St. Joseph Wind Farm 138 Montcalm Manitoba
St. Leon Wind Farm 99 St. Leon Manitoba
Wolfe Island Wind Project 197 Frontenac Islands Ontario

China

Wind farm in Xinjiang, China

In just five years, China leapfrogged the rest of the world in wind energy production, going from 2,599 MW of capacity in 2006 to 62,733 MW at the end of 2011. [54] [55] [56] However, the rapid growth outpaced China's infrastructure and new construction slowed significantly in 2012. [57]

At the end of 2009, wind power in China accounted for 25.1  gigawatts (GW) of electricity generating capacity, [58] and China has identified wind power as a key growth component of the country's economy. [59] With its large land mass and long coastline, China has exceptional wind resources. [60] Researchers from Harvard and Tsinghua University have found that China could meet all of their electricity demands from wind power by 2030. [61]

By the end of 2008, at least 15 Chinese companies were commercially producing wind turbines and several dozen more were producing components. [62] Turbine sizes of 1.5 MW to 3 MW became common. Leading wind power companies in China were Goldwind, Dongfang Electric, and Sinovel [63] along with most major foreign wind turbine manufacturers. [64] China also increased production of small-scale wind turbines to about 80,000 turbines (80 MW) in 2008. Through all these developments, the Chinese wind industry appeared unaffected by the global financial crisis, according to industry observers. [63]

According to the Global Wind Energy Council, the development of wind energy in China, in terms of scale and rhythm, is absolutely unparalleled in the world. The National People's Congress permanent committee passed a law that requires the Chinese energy companies to purchase all the electricity produced by the renewable energy sector. [65]

European Union

A wind farm in a mountainous area in Galicia, Spain
Wind farm in Lower Saxony, Germany

The European Union has a total installed wind capacity of 93,957 MW. Germany has the third largest capacity in the world (after China and the United States) with an installed capacity was 29,060 MW at the end of 2011, and Spain has 21,674 MW. Italy and France each had between 6,000 and 7,000 MW. [66] [67] By January 2014, the UK installed capacity was 10,495 MW. [68] But energy production can be different from capacity – in 2010, Spain had the highest European wind power production with 43 TWh compared to Germany's 35 TWh. [69]

Europe's largest windfarm is the ' London Array', an off-shore wind farm in the Thames Estuary in the United Kingdom, with a current capacity of 630 MW (and thus the world's largest off-shore wind farm). Other large wind farms in Europe include Fântânele-Cogealac Wind Farm near Constanța, Romania with 600 MW capacity, [70] [71] and Whitelee Wind Farm near Glasgow, Scotland which has a total capacity of 539 MW.

An important limiting factor of wind power is variable power generated by wind farms. In most locations the wind blows only part of the time, which means that there has to be back-up capacity of conventional generating capacity to cover periods that the wind is not blowing. To address this issue it has been proposed to create a " supergrid" to connect national grids together [72] across western Europe, ranging from Denmark across the southern North Sea to England and the Celtic Sea to Ireland, and further south to France and Spain especially in Higueruela which was considered for some time the biggest wind farm in the world. [73] The idea is that by the time a low pressure area has moved away from Denmark to the Baltic Sea the next low appears off the coast of Ireland. Therefore, while it is true that the wind is not blowing everywhere all of the time, it will always be blowing somewhere.

India

Progress in India's installed wind power generating capacity since 2006

India has the fifth largest installed wind power capacity in the world. [74] As of 31 March 2014, the installed capacity of wind power was 21136.3 MW mainly spread across Tamil Nadu state (7253 MW). [75] [76] Wind power accounts nearly 8.5% of India's total installed power generation capacity, and it generates 1.6% of the country's power.

Japan

Jordan

The Tafila Wind Farm in Jordan, is the first large scale wind farm in the region.

The 117 MW Tafila Wind Farm in Jordan was inaugurated in December 2015, and is the first large scale wind farm project in the region. [77]

Morocco

Morocco has undertaken a vast wind energy program, to support the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency in the country. The Moroccan Integrated Wind Energy Project, spanning over a period of 10 years with a total investment estimated at $3.25 billion, will enable the country to bring the installed capacity, from wind energy, from 280 MW in 2010 to 2000 MW in 2020. [78] [79]

Pakistan

Jhimpir Wind Farm

Pakistan has wind corridors in Jhimpir, Gharo and Keti Bundar in Sindh province and is currently developing wind power plants in Jhimpir and Mirpur Sakro (District Thatta). The government of Pakistan decided to develop wind power energy sources due to problems supplying energy to the southern coastal regions of Sindh and Balochistan. The Zorlu Energy Putin Power Plant is the first wind power plant in Pakistan. The wind farm is being developed in Jhimpir, by Zorlu Energy Pakistan the local subsidiary of a Turkish company. The total cost of project is $136 million.[3] Completed in 2012, it has a total capacity of around 56MW. Fauji Fertilizer Company Energy Limited, has build a 49.5 MW wind Energy Farm at Jhimpir. Contract of supply of mechanical design was awarded to Nordex and Descon Engineering Limited. Nordex a German wind turbine manufacturer. In the end of 2011 49.6 MW will be completed.Pakistani Govt. also has issued LOI of 100 MW Wind power plant to FFCEL. Pakistani Govt. has plans to achieve electric power up to 2500 MW by the end of 2015 from wind energy to bring down energy shortage.

Currently four wind farms are operational (Fauji Fertilizer 49.5 MW (subsidiary of Fauji Foundation), Three Gorges 49.5 MW, Zorlu Energy Pakistan 56 MW, Sapphire Wind Power Co Ltd 52.6 MW) and six are under construction phase ( Master Wind Energy Ltd 52.6 MW, Sachal Energy Development Ltd 49.5 MW, Yunus Energy Ltd 49.5 MW, Gul Energy 49.5 MW, Metro Energy 49.5 MW, Tapal Energy ) and expected to achieve COD in 2017.

In Gharo wind corridor, two wind farms (Foundation Energy 1 & II each 49.5 MW) are operational while two wind farms Tenaga Generasi Ltd 49.5 MW and HydroChina Dawood Power Pvt Ltd 49.5 are under construction and expected to achieve COD in 2017.

According to a USAID report, Pakistan has the potential of producing 150,000 megawatts of wind energy, of which only the Sindh corridor can produce 40,000 megawatts.

The Philippines

Philippines has the first windfarm in Southeast Asia. Located Northern part of the countries' biggest island Luzon, alongside the seashore of Municipality of Bangui, Province of Ilocos Norte.

The wind farm uses 20 units of 70-metre (230 ft) high Vestas V82 1.65 MW wind turbines, arranged on a single row stretching along a nine-kilometer shoreline off Bangui Bay, facing the West Philippine Sea.

Phase I of the NorthWind power project in Bangui Bay consists of 15 wind turbines, each capable of producing electricity up to a maximum capacity of 1.65 MW, for a total of 24.75 MW. The 15 on-shore turbines are spaced 326 metres (1,070 ft) apart, each 70 metres (230 ft) high, with 41 metres (135 ft) long blades, with a rotor diameter of 82 metres (269 ft) and a wind swept area of 5,281 square metres (56,840 sq ft).

Phase II, was completed on August 2008, and added 5 more wind turbines with the same capacity, and brought the total capacity to 33 MW. All 20 turbines describes a graceful arc reflecting the shoreline of Bangui Bay, facing the West Philippine Sea.

Adjacent municipalities of Bugos and Pagudpud followed with 50 and 27 wind turbines with a capacity of 3 MW each for a Total of 150 MW and 81 MW respectively.

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has received funding from the Asian Development Bank amounting to $300 million to invest in renewable energies. From this funding as well as $80 million from the Sri Lankan Government and $60 million from France’s Agence Française de Développement, Sri Lanka is building two 100MW wind farms from 2017 due to be completed by late 2020 in Northern Sri Lanka. [80]

South Africa

Turbines at the Gouda Wind Facility just outside the town of Gouda, South Africa.

As of September 2015 a number of sizable wind farms have been constructed in South Africa mostly in the Western Cape region. These include the 100 MW Sere Wind Farm and the 138 MW Gouda Wind Facility.

Most future wind farms in South Africa are earmarked for locations along the Eastern Cape coastline. [81] [82] [83] Eskom has constructed one small scale prototype windfarm at Klipheuwel in the Western Cape and another demonstrator site is near Darling with phase 1 completed. The first commercial wind farm, Coega Wind Farm in Port Elisabeth, was developed by the Belgian company Electrawinds.

Power plant Province Date
commissioned
Installed Capacity
( Megawatt)
Status Coordinates Notes
Coega Wind Farm Eastern Cape 2010 1.8 (45) Operational 33°45′16″S 25°40′30″E / 33.75444°S 25.67500°E / -33.75444; 25.67500 (Coega Wind Farm) [84] [85]
Darling Wind Farm Western Cape 2008 5.2 (13.2) Operational 33°19′55″S 18°14′38″E / 33.33195°S 18.24378°E / -33.33195; 18.24378 (Darling Wind Farm) [86] [87]
Klipheuwel Wind Farm ( af) Western Cape 2002 3.16 Operational (Prototype/Research) 33°41′43″S 18°43′30″E / 33.69539°S 18.72512°E / -33.69539; 18.72512 (Klipheuwel Wind Farm) [86] [88] [89]
Sere Wind Farm Western Cape 2014 100 Operational 31°32′S 18°17′E / 31.53°S 18.29°E / -31.53; 18.29 (Koekenaap facility) [90]
Gouda Wind Facility Western Cape 2015 138 Operational 33°17′S 19°03′E / 33.29°S 19.05°E / -33.29; 19.05 (Koekenaap facility) [91] [92]

United States

Brazos Wind Farm in the plains of West Texas

U.S. wind power installed capacity in 2012 exceeded 51,630 MW and supplies 3% of the nation's electricity. [93] [94]

New installations place the U.S. on a trajectory to generate 20% of the nation’s electricity by 2030 from wind energy. [95] Growth in 2008 channeled some $17 billion into the economy, positioning wind power as one of the leading sources of new power generation in the country, along with natural gas. Wind projects completed in 2008 accounted for about 42% of the entire new power-producing capacity added in the U.S. during the year. [96]

At the end of 2008, about 85,000 people were employed in the U.S. wind industry, [97] and GE Energy was the largest domestic wind turbine manufacturer. [98] Wind projects boosted local tax bases and revitalized the economy of rural communities by providing a steady income stream to farmers with wind turbines on their land. [98] Wind power in the U.S. provides enough electricity to power the equivalent of nearly 9 million homes, avoiding the emissions of 57 million tons of carbon each year and reducing expected carbon emissions from the electricity sector by 2.5%. [96]

Texas, with 10,929 MW of capacity, has the most installed wind power capacity of any U.S. state, followed by California with 4,570 MW and Iowa with 4,536 MW. [94] The Alta Wind Energy Center (1,020 MW) in California is the nation's largest wind farm in terms of capacity. [12] Altamont Pass Wind Farm is the largest wind farm in the U.S. in terms of the number of individual turbines. [99]

Criticism

Public perception is that renewable energies such as wind, solar, biomass and geothermal are having a significant positive impact on global warming. [100] All of these sources combined only supplied 1.3% of global energy in 2013 as 8 billion tonnes of coal was burned annually. [101]

One of the biggest factors inhibiting wind farm construction is human opposition. A study has shown [102] "turbine placement close to residents may heighten their uncertainty and concern of the wind turbines and overshadow any positive inclinations towards the development."

Wind farm development is affected by the emphasis being primarily placed on the domain of landscape assessment and environmental impact when seeking farm sites. The viability and efficiency of the wind farm are barely touched upon, instead falling to the developer. For example, Sturge et al. [103] of the University of Sheffield wrote that in many countries where wind energy is becoming popular, engineering aspects, specifically energy yield are not being taken into consideration, either by the public or in the process of planning consent for wind farm development. As energy is the main purpose of wind farms, a lack of attention given to the subject could be detrimental to the general acceptance of wind farms.

Environmental impact

Livestock ignore wind turbines, [104] and continue to graze as they did before wind turbines were installed.

Compared to the environmental impact of traditional energy sources, the environmental impact of wind power is relatively minor. [105] Wind power consumes no fuel, and emits no air pollution, unlike fossil fuel power sources. The energy consumed to manufacture and transport the materials used to build a wind power plant is equal to the new energy produced by the plant within a few months. [105] While a wind farm may cover a large area of land, many land uses such as agriculture are compatible, with only small areas of turbine foundations and infrastructure made unavailable for use. [106]

There are reports of bird and bat mortality at wind turbines as there are around other artificial structures. The scale of the ecological impact may [107] or may not be significant, [108] depending on specific circumstances. The estimated number of bird deaths caused by wind turbines in the United States is between 140,000 and 328,000, whereas deaths caused by domestic cats in the United States are estimated to be between 1.3 and 4.0 billion birds each year and over 100 million birds are killed in the United States each year by impact with windows. [108] Prevention and mitigation of wildlife fatalities, and protection of peat bogs, affect the siting and operation of wind turbines. [109]

Human health

There have been multiple scientific, peer-reviewed studies into wind farm noise, which have concluded that infrasound from wind farms is not a hazard to human health and there is no verifiable evidence for 'Wind Turbine Syndrome', although some suggest further research might still be useful. [110]

A 2007 report by the U.S. National Research Council noted that noise produced by wind turbines is generally not a major concern for humans beyond a half-mile or so. Low-frequency vibration and its effects on humans are not well understood and sensitivity to such vibration resulting from wind-turbine noise is highly variable among humans.[ citation needed] There are opposing views on this subject, and more research needs to be done on the effects of low-frequency noise on humans. [111]

In a 2009 report about "Rural Wind Farms", a Standing Committee of the Parliament of New South Wales, Australia, recommended a minimum setback of two kilometres between wind turbines and neighbouring houses (which can be waived by the affected neighbour) as a precautionary approach. [112]

A 2014 paper suggests that the 'Wind Turbine Syndrome' is mainly caused by the nocebo effect and other psychological mechanisms. [108] [113]

Effect on power grid

Utility-scale wind farms must have access to transmission lines to transport energy. The wind farm developer may be obliged to install extra equipment or control systems in the wind farm to meet the technical standards set by the operator of a transmission line. [114] The company or person that develops the wind farm can then sell the power on the grid through the transmission lines and ultimately chooses whether to hold on to the rights or sell the farm or parts of it to big business like GE, for example.[ citation needed]

Ground radar interference

Wind farm interference (in yellow circle) on radar map

Wind farms can interfere with ground radar systems used for military, weather and air traffic control. The large, rapidly moving blades of the turbines can return signals to the radar that can be mistaken as an aircraft or weather pattern. [115] Actual aircraft and weather patterns around wind farms can be accurately detected, as there is no fundamental physical constraint preventing that. But aging radar infrastructure is significantly challenged with the task. [116] [117] The US military is using wind turbines on some bases, including Barstow near the radar test facility. [118] [119]

Effects

The level of interference is a function of the signal processors used within the radar, the speed of the aircraft and the relative orientation of wind turbines/aircraft with respect to the radar. An aircraft flying above the wind farm's turning blades could become impossible to detect because the blade tips can be moving at nearly aircraft velocity. Studies are currently being performed to determine the level of this interference and will be used in future site planning. [120] Issues include masking (shadowing), clutter (noise), and signal alteration. [121] Radar issues have stalled as much as 10,000 MW of projects in USA. [122]

Some very long range radars are not affected by wind farms. [123]

Mitigation

Permanent problem solving include a non-initiation window to hide the turbines while still tracking aircraft over the wind farm, and a similar method mitigates the false returns. [124] England's Newcastle Airport is using a short-term mitigation; to "blank" the turbines on the radar map with a software patch. [125] Wind turbine blades using stealth technology are being developed to mitigate radar reflection problems for aviation. [126] [127] [128] [129] As well as stealth windfarms, the future development of infill radar systems could filter out the turbine interference.

In early 2011, the U.S. government awarded a program to build a radar/wind turbine analysis tool. This tool will allow developers to predict the impact of a wind farm on a radar system before construction, thus allowing rearrangement of the turbines or even the entire wind farm to avoid negative impacts on the radar system. [120] [130]

A mobile radar system, the Lockheed Martin TPS-77, has shown in recent tests that it can distinguish between aircraft and wind turbines, and more than 170 TPS-77 radars are in use around the world. In Britain, the Lockheed Martin TPS-77 system was to be installed at Trimingham in Norfolk to remove military objections to a series of offshore wind farms in the North Sea. A second TPS-77 was to be installed in the Scottish Borders, overcoming objections to a 48-turbine wind farm at Fallago. [131]

Radio reception interference

There are also reports of negative effects on radio and television reception in wind farm communities. Potential solutions include predictive interference modeling as a component of site selection. [132] [133] [134]

Agriculture

A 2010 study found that in the immediate vicinity of wind farms, the climate is cooler during the day and slightly warmer during the night than the surrounding areas due to the turbulence generated by the blades. [135]

In another study an analysis carried out on corn and soybean crops in the central areas of the United States noted that the microclimate generated by wind turbines improves crops as it prevents the late spring and early autumn frosts, and also reduces the action of pathogenic fungi that grow on the leaves. Even at the height of summer heat, the lowering of 2.5–3 degrees above the crops due to turbulence caused by the blades, can make a difference for the cultivation of corn. [136]


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