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Technical Information and Guidelines on the Assessment of the Potential Impact of Wind Turbines on Radiocommunication, Radar and Seismoacoustic Systems  

Author:  | Canada, Siting

Studies have shown that the rotating blades and support structure of a wind turbine can impact AM (amplitude modulated) RF (radio frequency) signals. FM (frequency modulated) signals are much more immune to this phenomena and may only become impaired in very close proximity to a wind turbine.

Experience and studies in Europe and the United States have indicated that both the physical structures of the tower/turbine and the rotating blades can cause interference on conventional and Doppler radar signals. Wind turbines, which are within the “Line of Sight” of radars, can have a negative impact on radar data.

An extensive study of microseismic and infrasonic effects of low frequency noise and vibrations from windfarms has shown that wind turbines can have a negative impact on seismoacoustic (seismological and infrasound) recording equipment that can reduce their sensitivity and hence effectiveness for monitoring earthquakes and nuclear explosions. Wind turbines generate detectable seismic vibrations in the earth, and low-frequency acoustic signals in the atmosphere, which increase with wind speed. The greater the number of wind turbines, the higher the level of seismic and acoustic noise.

Based on this, the following systems could be negatively impacted by the proximity of wind turbines:

  • Cable distribution off-air receive systems (Head-ends);
  • Satellite uplinks and receive systems;
  • Direct-to-home (DTH) receive systems (Star Choice, Bell Expressvu);
  • Radar (weather, defence and air traffic);
  • Airport communications and guidance systems;
  • Broadcasting – AM, FM and TV;
  • Coast Guard communications and vessel traffic radar systems;
  • Point-to-point radiocommunication links;
  • Point-to-multipoint systems;
  • Cellular type networks; and
  • Seismological and infrasound monitoring systems.

Wind turbines can affect radiocommunication and radar signals in a number of ways including shadowing, mirror-type reflections, clutter or signal scattering.

Download original document: “Technical Information and Guidelines on the Assessment of the Potential Impact of Wind Turbines on Radiocommunication, Radar and Seismoacoustic Systems

This article is the work of the author(s) indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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