Wind Turbines and Radar

Siting and Barrier MitigationWind turbines can potentially interfere with radar systems like the one pictured here

Wind plant installations offer lower electricity rates, reduce greenhouse emissions and improve air quality. However, like any form of energy installation, they impact surrounding areas. As the number of large wind plants in the the U.S. grows, the potential for wind turbines to interfere with radar missions and grid operations increases. Sandia works with industry and government agencies to mitigate potential barriers to successful wind turbine deployment. We leverage national laboratory science and engineering expertise to develop tools for:

Wind Turbine Radar Interference Mitigation

Wind turbines have grown in size and capacity with average turbines reaching heights of more than 495 feet from ground to blade tip and operate with tip speeds up to 200 knots (within the range of aircraft speeds).  These machines could potentially interfere with existing surveillance radar systems.  Because radar technologies are vital to safe air travel, weather prediction and military operations, Sandia leverages expertise and capabilities from the Wind Energy Technologies and Synthetic Aperture Radar departments to develop blade fabrication techniques to reduce the radar cross section of a wind turbine blade, create wind project siting and development modeling tools, and lead collaborative mitigation efforts with industry and government.

Karlson, B., LeBlanc, B., Minster, D., Estill, D., Miller, B., Busse, F., Keck, C., Sullivan, J., Brigada, D., Parker, L., Younger, R., Biddle, J., IFT&E Industry Report: Wind Turbine-Radar Interference Test Summary, SAND2014-19003.

WTRIM Working Group

The Wind Turbine Radar Interference Mitigation (WTRIM) Working Group exists “to fully address wind turbine radar interference as an impact to critical radar missions, ensure the long-term resilience of radar operations in the presence of wind turbines, and remove radar interference as an impediment to future wind energy ,” by 2025. The group was established by a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the U.S. Department of Energy , U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the Department of Commerce’s (DOC) National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In addition to the agreement signed by these four partners, the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the U.S Department of Homeland Security are regular participants in WTRIM WG activities including providing funding for mitigation research and development.


via Siting and Barrier Mitigation – Sandia Energy