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Effects of wind turbines on radar: A pilot study of US concerns

Auld, Trisha (2011) Effects of wind turbines on radar: A pilot study of US concerns. Masters by Coursework thesis, Murdoch University.

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A substantial number of wind energy projects have recently been stalled or abandoned in the United States of America (US) due to concerns over the effects of wind turbines on radar and military sites. The US Department of Defence (DOD) has reported that utility class turbines can have a „significant impact‟ on the operational capabilities of air defence radar, can interfere with military testing and training capabilities, and can obstruct Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty monitoring (DOD 2006). The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) estimates 10,000 MW of wind generation capacity was held up or abandoned in 2009 due to such concerns (cited in Warwick 2010).

This dissertation is a pilot project that aims to look behind such public statements to:

1. Define the nature of US concerns pertaining to the effects of wind turbines on radar and military sites.
2. Determine the recent impact these concerns have had on wind energy projects in the US.
3. Identify and analyse proposed solutions to the problem.

Results of the literature review, case study analysis, and industry interviews conducted for this pilot study show:

1. Additional clutter, shadow, seismic noise and flight obstruction are the main concerns the DOD has with proposed wind projects.
2. DOD concerns have had an extensive impact on the rapid development of the US wind industry and could prevent the US from reaching its target of 20% of energy from wind energy by 2030.
3. Proposed solutions available to overcome DOD concerns are vast; however the range of solutions available, which are certified by the DOD, need to be expanded.

This pilot project is intended to provide a platform for further research into this issue.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Coursework)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Engineering and Energy
Supervisor(s): Whale, Jonathan and Pryor, Trevor
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