Four gigawatts (yes, 4,000 megawatts) of wind farm capacity have been held on lock-down and unable to move through the UK’s planning system due to Ministry of Defence (MoD) radar issues. However, it looks like that has all changed now.
At the end of last week, the MoD announced that it has agreed to “a deal for developers to fund new wind farm-friendly radars, with the potential to unlock more than 4 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy, enough to power over two million homes.”
“A new Air Defence radar that is not adversely affected by wind farms has been installed and tested on the Norfolk coast.” This unblocks the development of wind farms with a total installed capacity of 3.3 GW.
Proposed wind farms with an installed capacity of another 750 MW Staxton Wold, North Yorkshire and Brizlee Wood, Northumberland are also projected to benefit from this technological advance. Two radars have been ordered by the MoD for these wind farms in an “award-winning follow on deal.”
“Wind turbines as small as 50kW can reflect radar waves, appearing on tracking screens as ‘clutter’ in an unpredictable and confusing way,” as Business Green notes. “However, independent wind farm developers often cannot afford to invest in expensive mitigation technologies designed to reduce the impact on radars.”
Obviously, this is a huge relief for the UK wind industry, and for wind energy enthusiasts around the world (like us). I’ve practically got a smile on my face writing about this.
Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans Andrew Robathan, taking some due credit for this improvement, notes:
“The MOD was instrumental in convincing the energy companies to collaborate and jointly fund the cost of the radar, meeting operational requirements and ultimately enabling the generation of more renewable energy. This is good news for all parties to this arrangement”
I think so.
UK wind turbines via shutterstock