Government-Industry Radar/Airspace Listening Session at WindPower2015

Government-Industry Radar/Airspace Listening Session at WindPower2015

Representatives from the federal agencies participating in the Wind Turbine Radar Interference Mitigation (WTRIM) Working Group held a special Government-Industry Radar/Airspace Listening Session at the American Wind Energy Association AWEA WindPower 2015 event in Orlando, Florida. The event was well attended by more than 50 persons (other than the panel members). The panel consisted of

  • Mr. Jose Zayas (DOE),
  • Mr. Bill Van Houten (Office of the Secretary of Defense Siting Clearinghouse),
  • Mr. Dennis Roberts (Federal Aviation Administration
    [FAA] Southern Region Director), and
  • Mr. Tom Vinson (AWEA) acting as the facilitator.
Our nation relies upon a network of radars across the country to support the missions of homeland defense/security, flight safety, and weather forecasting. The air-surveillance environ-ment contains within it clutter, both stationary and moving. Wind turbines present a unique problem in that they can be both stationary and moving clutter and operate with blade tip speeds up to 200 knots, in the same range as aircraft speeds.

Our nation relies upon a network of radars across the country to support the missions of homeland defense/security, flight safety, and weather forecasting. The air-surveillance environment contains within it clutter, both stationary and moving. Wind turbines present a unique problem in that they can be both stationary and moving clutter and operate with blade tip speeds up to 200 knots, in the same range as aircraft speeds.

Key wind-energy developers, wind-farm siting, and radar-mitigation vendors were in the room along with Sheri Edgett-Baron’s FAA Obstruction Evaluation Team from Washington, DC, as well as Ed Ciardi (NOAA) and representatives from Sandia National Laboratories involved with work on reducing wind-radar barriers for the DOE.

Key topics initially covered by each panel member in the following order included:

  • DOE—The recently published Wind Vision, the Tall Towers Initiative, wind-turbine/radar interference mitigation, opportunities for wind energy in the southeastern US, and multiple environmental considerations.
  • FAA—Wind-turbine/radar interference mitigation, obstruction evaluation of wind turbines, antennas, buildings, obstruction lighting requirements, meteorological towers, and other structures. FAA specifically noted that 1/3 of all obstruction evaluation reviews are for wind turbines.
  • DoD—Covered the history of the DoD Siting Clearinghouse, authorities, mitigation response teams, the Integrated Field Test and Evaluation (IFT&E) program and results, the DoD informal and formal review processes, future “resource maps”, wind–radar mitigation capabilities (specifically infill radars that have matured since the IFT&E tests of 2012–13), and finally a short description of the Pilot Mitigation Projects Initiative.