Institute for Telecommunication Sciences
the research laboratory of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration

John J. Lemmon; Frank Sanders; Doris Turner; John E. Carroll

Abstract: This technical report describes the results of a study exploring the effects of power-producing wind turbines on Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) air traffic control (ATC) radars. The study was performed to identify the extent to which these effects exist, and to identify mitigation techniques and parameters for such effects. The topics addressed in this report are: review of the current state of the literature on wind turbine effects on ATC radar performance; determination of criteria for recommended no-interference radii between ATC radars and wind turbines; determination of methodology for assessing effects of wind turbines on radars that are within no-interference radii; analysis of the potential for desired targets to be lost in azimuths other than those of wind turbine farms; and consideration of the effects of wind turbines on secondary radar (i.e., ATC beacon interrogator, or ATCBI) performance. The study results indicate that documented cases of deleterious effects from wind turbines do exist and are numerous. Due to the large number of parameters that enter the analysis, a simple, universally applicable set of guidelines for siting of wind turbines near radars is not feasible. However, this study shows that, by making nominal assumptions about turbine characteristics and siting parameters such as local topography, it is possible to develop a universally applicable methodology for assessing potential interference between wind farms and ATC radars.

Keywords: air traffic control (ATC) radar; ATC beacon interrogator (ATCBI) performance; wind farm clutter effects; wind turbine clutter effects; wind turbine radar interference effects

To request a reprint of this report, contact:

Lilli Segre, Publications Officer
Institute for Telecommunication Sciences
(303) 497-3572

For technical information concerning this report, contact:

John E. Carroll
Institute for Telecommunication Sciences
(303) 497-3367

Disclaimer: Certain commercial equipment, components, and software may be identified in this report to specify adequately the technical aspects of the reported results. In no case does such identification imply recommendation or endorsement by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, nor does it imply that the equipment or software identified is necessarily the best available for the particular application or uses.

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