Our nation relies upon a network of radars across the country to support the missions of homeland defense, homeland 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 of aircraft speeds.

Our nation relies upon a network of radars across the country to support the missions of homeland defense, homeland 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 of aircraft speeds.

The DOE and Sandia are working toward a better integration of new wind turbines with their local environment. One barrier to wind-energy installations has been the im­pact wind turbines may have on the Nation­al Air Space (NAS) radar system, which has led to a blanket rejection of several wind-farm developments. To improve the siting and permitting process for wind-energy de­velopments in the vicinity of radar systems, Sandia is working with BEM International and Peak Spatial Enterprises to develop a Tool for Siting Planning and Encroachment Analysis for Renewables (TSPEAR) toolkit.

Initially designed to support wind-energy development by assessing the interaction between turbines and constraining factors, such as the NAS radar systems, TSPEAR is partially populated with information from existing databases and can integrate custom models and tools used throughout the development process. Sandia is working with MIT’s Lincoln Labora­tory to validate TSPEAR results against the Interagency Field Test and Evaluation experimental campaigns that measured radar performance over and around several wind farms.

The IFT&E effort included three flight campaigns. The three existing radars tested were a long-range CARSR, a short-range ASR-11, and a long-range ARSR-4.

The IFT&E effort included three flight campaigns. The three existing radars tested were a long-range CARSR, a short-range ASR-11, and a long-range ARSR-4.

Sandia will further develop TSPEAR to include models of a suite of mitigation technologies for projects that are found to impact nearby radar systems—to enable wind-farm developers to evaluate potential options for moving forward.

Read the full article in the DOE Wind Program Newsletter.